dugganI have been doing some thinking. It saddens me that no one has mentioned what I believe is at the heart of this killing problem in America. Yes, guns are a part of the problem. Yes, poor mental health funding is part of the problem. Yes, this is more than a police matter. Yes, divorce is part of the problem, particularly for young boys and the single mothers who can not control them as they struggle to become men. Hearing about the education system in Finland and its success and knowing what our education system was like when I entered it in 1958 as a five year old and later as a Washington state certified teacher and comparing our present mandated, standardized, competitive, business driven, political education system that focuses mostly on those who would succeed in any system, the college bound, is the simple fact that we repeatedly tell the majority of our children through the required standardized tests that they are not good enough to meet standard.

They fail to meet standard at fourth, seventh, eighth and by tenth grade they have no confidence and drop out. If five hundred kids enter our high schools as ninth graders, we are lucky if three hundred and fifty graduate.

Yes, this means that 30% are being left behind. Yes, ANGRY kids are being left behind everywhere in America. They are left feeling helpless, inadequate, without confidence and ANGRY. No Child Left Behind and its call for standardization is killing America.

Today, "racing to the top" is racing to our demise, standardization must end. Our teachers, like those in Finland, must be trusted as we were prior to the NCLB act. Education in America must return to teaching the whole child, before teachers of my age and experience retire. Innovation does not occur, if standardization is our standard.

My point is that standardization has produced a large group of angry young people, mostly boys, who have NOT been nurtured, they have been left behind. America is hurting because we are failing to meet the needs of our children.

Edward Duggan, Concerned Washington Teacher

Ed is a High School Science teacher at Kentlake High School, and a building rep for the Kent Association. He is active on the Member Lobby Team, and gave up his February break to lobby in Olympia. And you can probably assume from his essay that he is a passionate, articulate educator!