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Aids Essay

1505 words - 6 pages

Regarding "More money for better grades" (Page A-1, Dec. 19): As Sen. James Jeffords, the Vermont independent, stated in the debate over this bill: "This is another example of educational mandates without adequate funding." Education is one area where federal and state mandates overburden the local boards of education without sufficient funding to properly implement the requirements of the laws. Reggie Felton, a lobbyist for the National School Boards Association, noted that "the new requirements will be difficult to fulfill." With this new bill, we will be forced to expand New Jersey's very good testing structure -- which has taken 10 years to develop -- to Grades 3 to 8. For what purpose? There is little or no research to prove that increased testing will improve student achievement. In fact, the Texas testing program touted by President Bush as justification for the provision in the bill has not translated into increased performance by Texas students on national tests.In northern New Jersey, less than 15 percent of the schools do not meet adequate state testing levels. Why do all the successful schools have to lose more classroom teaching time to testing? Consider the increase in bureaucracy it will take to develop and oversee this increased testing program. I thought less government was supposed to be better.New Jersey boards of education would be better supported if the additional federal funds were earmarked for improving infrastructure. All the districts in this state are in dramatic need of overhauling their existing physical structures. The state has an $8 billion bond to fund some of the districts' needs, but that is not enough to meet the statewide demand. The extra federal funds would better serve all of us in New Jersey if we could use it to build infrastructure. This would relieve some of the local tax burden.Funds for charter schools are emphasized in this bill. The appeal of a charter school is a small school population providing personalized instruction in classes with fewer than 20 students. Well, why can't we support the same design in all public elementary schools? Why must the chancellor of New York City schools be satisfied with 35 students as the norm? Why must inner city schools have enrollments of 1,000 students or more? Education must be a national priority, but this bill is far from providing "historic reforms." Rather it is more of the same -- long on politically motivated mandates and short on funds.Lou Giglio, Ringwood, Dec. 19 The writer is a teacher.Obvious reason for voter apathy? James Ahearn's "The sad state of voting" (Other Views, Dec. 19) and "Stop the insanity" (Editorial, Dec. 19) form a wonderful example of point made, point answered.Ahearn rightly deplores the low voter turnout in our state. He chooses to put the blame, however, on the voters while ignoring the mendacity and runaway spending habits of our politicians. I never met a voter who voted for Jim Florio's massive tax bill. Likewise, those of us...

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