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[Susan notes: You have to admire a letter that masterfully uses Captain Renault's famous words from "Casablanca" and gets in the point that all this testing is based on a faith-based policy.

Of course that is faith in the Business Roundtable. ]

Published in Boston Herald

To the editor

Education Commissioner David Driscoll says he is disappointed at this year's lackluster MCAS results, and complains that there's too much focus on just passing the tests ("Hub students' MCAS scores fall," Sept. 29).

Listening to him, it's hard to avoid thinking of Captain Renault in the movie Casablanca, who pocketed his winnings while saying, "I'm shocked, shocked to hear there's gambling going on."

Driscoll leads a state education policy that, for over 10 years, has revolved around improving the bottom line, i.e., MCAS pass rates in math and

English. What does he expect students and teachers to focus on, if not passing the tests? They know everything rides on these scores.

A mounting body of research shows that when this is the case, education becomes narrowed to preparing students to pass the tests. Research

also shows that race-based achievement gaps are not narrowed by high-stakes testing, but for some reason we continue to pursue this faith-based policy.

It's time to get off this road to nowhere. There are better ways to invest our scarce resources and ensure that every child is educated to their full potential.

Lisa Guisbond

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