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[Susan notes: Monty is a letter-writing pro, and this is a good one.]

Published in Boston Herald

To the editor

It seems like only yesterday when we were told that MCAS is the high-stakes testing "gold standard," giving high school diplomas meaning and ensuring our children get what they need to succeed in life.

Suddenly, MCAS promoters have changed their tune -- in the face of arbitrary federal demands for "higher standards."

Now we're told the MCAS bar is too low, and our kids must jump ever higher if they want to move on. Never mind that half of all students with disabilities and 36 percent of limited English proficient students failed the 10th grade MCAS in 2004 on their first try. Never mind that one in three Hispanic students and one-quarter of Blacks didn't reach 10th grade to take the exam.

In the brave new world of high-stakes testing, raising scores matters more than improving overall educational quality.

Is this really what we mean by leaving no child behind?

Monty Neill, Executive Director, Fair Test

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