Re: Where the Mayor Went Wrong, Diane Ravitch, WSJ

By Nicole Vianna

Letter to the Editor
The Wall Street Journal
May 12, 2005
(not published)

Re: Where the Mayor Went Wrong

To the Editor:

Next month, my son will graduate from a top-ranked "Bloomberg" primary school. I could go on for pages detailing the ways the constructivist fervor of the good intentioned and very hard working teachers and staff of the school have repeatedly (and unintentionally) short changed the children, at all levels of ability, but Ms. Ravitch covers that ground adequately. What I don't understand is her criticism of extensive test preparation.

At my son's school, "test prep" is the only time the teacher directly instructs the children on specific topics in a coherent way. It is the only time in mathematics instruction that alternative methods and solutions suggested by students are not accepted without regard to their being absolutely correct or efficient. "Test prep" for the New York State Social Studies test ensured that my son was exposed to the sort of basic civics that permeated my education. Contrary to Ms. Ravitch's assertion, it is not the test prep that takes time from "real education", rather, it is the hours wasted in constructivist-mandated group work where the somewhat informed child leads the uninformed child in their quest to reinvent 5000 years of knowledge.

Nicole Vianna
New York City

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