Regarding the story about Glen Cove schoolteachers who were fined for helping students to cheat ["Educators must pay," News, July 31], why did these teachers risk their careers and reputations to help these students?

The problem is that state and federal education officials are treating our children like numbers.

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Our children should take tests written by their teachers, covering what was taught in class. Our children do not need a distant state bureaucratic Gestapo educational department, but a caring concerned teacher.

Newsday needs to seriously investigate the state Education Department and the politics within. Each school district needs a staff to work to educate children, not some political authority sitting at a desk in Albany. We want our children educated by teachers who they can see, talk with and interact with.

No one is condoning cheating, but the question -- why? -- has not been adequately addressed.

Thomas Berger, East Patchogue