It seems to me, as a 21-plus year special education and elementary education teacher, that the problems that confront our schools begin in the home. Children starting kindergarten already have a large discrepancy in skills before they come to us. Why don't we encourage parents to spend quality time reading with their children and talking to their children?

Many children come from homes where their primary needs go unsatisfied, and we expect them to love to learn when they are worried about where they will get their next meal. Early intervention programs help children to catch up to other children, but how do teachers ensure that all students who start at different points end up in the same place?

I no longer teach because of programs like No Child Left Behind. The amount of testing has multiplied until teachers simply are taught to teach to the tests. There's a lot of learning that can't be measured on a bubble dot test! To improve education, let us give teachers more time to teach and less time testing!

Pamela Stewart

South Jordan