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I have to say, Betsy, that your story of the little fifth grader really gets my blood boiling. It certainly reminds me of why so many kids are justified in hating school. Who wants to walk into a place that makes sure you know that you are not good enough. Did that little girl show up feeling good about herself that day? Was she hoping to learn something interesting? Did she think that her Reading Coach was going to give her some helpful hints, read something fun with her and send her on her way happily? Or did she walk into the building warily, knowing someone was going to make sure she understood that she just doesn't measure up in the numbers game of standardized testing.

What does that young lady do well? Who made sure, that day, to recognize her considerable personal talents, whatever they might be? You want to be frustrated about something, be frustrated about the quantification of children in those disgusting numbers. You want your kids to read better, give them more practice--it's a skill, practice makes it better. But if you want to make your school better, get your teachers to wrack their brains to find ways to highlight and encourage the strengths of their students.

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