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No Child leaves much damage behind

TEACHERS, PARENTS, and most especially students should cheer the news that Massachusetts has been granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind ( “Mass. gets US waiver on school rules,’’ Page A1, Feb. 10). So many young people have been harmed by the provisions of this law, which led to rigid standardized testing, mind-numbing teaching to the test, and, most damaging of all, higher dropout rates.

What happened in our classrooms and to our students over the past 10 years because of that law should be a cautionary tale to all of us about the dangers of turning a deaf ear to teachers and of giving uncritical acceptance to the voices of the business community, politicians, and others who are not trained educators.

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It is interesting that the pressure to change this law did not build until many so-called mainstream communities, and not just predominantly poor and minority areas, realized that its requirements would label their towns, too, as having so-called failing schools.

While the waiver is good news, it has come at a heavy cost, borne by the many poor and minority children who were told that they were “underachieving’’ and learning in “failing schools.’’

Shame on all of us.

Christine Beagan


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