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[Susan notes: ]

Published in Boston Globe
05/15/2003
http://www.boston.com/globe/search/copyright.html

To the editor



ACCORDING to Paul Hoss (''No favor for special education students,'' letter, May 10), those who would defend special education students from

the MCAS exams are actually persecuting them.



Such is the topsy-turvy world of MCAS. However, not even the mantra of maintaining ''high

standards'' can obscure the fact that special education students are failing the exam at a disproportionate rate, even after the passing

grade was lowered.



Two thousand of them statewide are facing the prospect of not receiving a diploma. Only one of 700-plus special education students who qualified

for an alternate assessment has passed it.



Should students with serious disabilities be denied diplomas because they cannot pass a single kind of assessment?



Officials at the state Board of Education say, ''Yes.''



In fact, they have reacted to the Massachusetts House vote to exempt special education students from the MCAS graduation requirement with

cries that the whole education sky is falling.



The sky will not fall if we make a common sense adjustment for students with disabilities.



State officials could better use their time to question their own assumptions that a single kind of test can tell us anything very profound about any student's effort, achievement or progress.



Bill Schecter


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