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[Susan notes: New York State Education Czar Mills is nailed again.]

Published in New York Times
07/14/2003

To the editor





The cavalier attitude of Richard P. Mills, the New York State education commissioner, about the public outcry over Regents exams (news article, July 7) shows a disregard for facts: the decline in eighth-grade reading and math scores, censorship of literary passages on the English exams, two years of scandalous physics exams, the yanking of the math test results, not to mention the thousands of students who drop out or are "counseled out" by schools desperate to avoid being labeled "failing."



Mr. Mills would do well to heed the the policy of the Dalton School (where Mr. Mills began teaching). Dalton, like most private schools, has high standards without the punishing effects of high-stakes Regents exams.



New York's first education commissioner, Andrew Draper, did not, as Mr. Mills implies, simply call for upholding standards. He specified "sane standards." The tragedy of Mr. Mills's vision is that he can't distinguish between high standards and high-stakes tests.





Ann Cook


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