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[Susan notes: This is a fine letter. In addition to speaking to the critical issue of denying diplomas to students who earned them, the letter's energy confronts the reader with fine force.]

Published in Baltimore Sun

To the editor

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings popped in on the Governor's Commission on Quality Education in Maryland to sing the praises of the state's testing programs, including our gauntlet of high-stakes one-size-fits-all exit exams that could cost thousands of Maryland students their diplomas beginning in 2009 ("U.S. education chief urges making high school courses more rigorous," March 15).

However, I don't know many mothers, let alone education testing experts, who believe it is remotely fair or productive to rob students of the diplomas they earned fair and square based on a standardized test designed and scored by a private testing company.

I also don't know of a single parent who cares two whits about how their children's high school course selections will impact overall U.S. global economic competitiveness.

In Maryland, high stakes are for tomatoes - not children.

I don't care what Ms. Spellings thinks about the Maryland High School Assessments; we need to dump this ill-conceived testing program.

Sue Allison

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