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[Susan notes: This letter is addressed to the Boston Globe, but it hits universal values regarding Standardisto fiats.]

Published in Boston Globe
10/26/2003

To the editor



THE BOSTON Globe on Oct. 19 addressed the topic of MCAS twice. On the editorial page you denounced the legislative initiative to open up new avenues of appeal for special education students ("MCAS and special ed"). In the Education section there was an article about how MCAS hurts gifted students, "In MCAS twist, some students may not feel challenged."



The idea of the No Child Left Behind Act and pushing for a 100 percent pass rate on MCAS is a noble one, but so unrealistic and so simplistic.

Who could argue with this goal, but also who with any knowledge of education and children would agree that one approach can possibly meet

the needs of every student? The realistic and morally honest response is that children, whether typical, gifted, or learning disabled, each

respond to learning in different ways.



As citizens, we hear endless promises from political candidates about how they will move our country to full employment, or that the ranks of

those without health insurance will disappear. However, we are sophisticated enough to know that those promises don't deliver the goods. Why should we expect MCAS to be a different reality --that all the promises of our president and the Department of Education not withstanding, students learn differently and have different needs?



Our Legislature and Department of Education should be commended for finding ways to be responsive to individual students. Making the appeals process more flexible, acknowledging that one test can't measure accurately the abilities of each and every student, is the only fair and

educationally honest way to proceed.



Linda C. Freeman


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