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[Susan notes: Juanita does a good job of speaking out for the forgotten students, those with vocational ed goals. And she nails the issue of notion that's sweeping the country--governor-appointed boards to replace state boards of education.]

Published in Tacoma News Tribune
01/19/2004

To the editor



Re: "Leaders face test on promise to schools" (Insight, 1-11).



Once again the Washington Roundtable repeats its plea for a Certificate of Mastery, stating emphatically that students are leaving our high schools without being able to read, write and do math. False rhetoric aside, it is time for the roundtable to re-evaluate the goals that the hierarchy has set and what they have meant for our students and our schools.



In many districts the one-size-fits-all-or-else bar, to be measured by the WASL, has completely demolished any realistic vocational programming. Drop-out rates are on the rise; students, parents and teachers are becoming disenfranchised, even without WASL as a graduation requirement.



Yes, students need basic skills in all subjects in order to lead productive, happy lives. Current "standards" are not facilitating this goal. WASL is not a test of basic skills. This is why thoughtful educators and citizens are calling for further study and a pullback of high-stakes testing.



The roundtable, on the other hand, calls in its publications for the demise of the state board of education and its replacement by a governor-appointed board. Administrative rule is so much quicker and more efficient than democracy. The roundtable can't wait.

Juanita Doyon


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