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[Susan notes: The little-known and often-forgotten fact is that special needs kids whose private school placements are paid for with public funds must pass the MCAS to get a diploma, but the kids sitting next to them whose parents are paying the tab can get a diploma without passing the MCAS. ]

Published in Boston Globe

To the editor

IN RESPONSE to the letter of James A. Peyser, chairman of the state Board of Education ("MCAS defiance harms those most in need) I would agree with his statement, ``a high school diploma should not be an entitlement or a rite of passage. It should be earned through effort and achievement."

Mr. Peyser however, seems to indicate that the passing of the MCAS is the requisite "effort and achievement" for the privilege of earning a diploma.

Why then do private schools not have the same requirement? If you are "entitled" enough to be able to attend a private school, you are not

required to pass the MCAS in order to receive a diploma.

Evidently, it is only "unfair and unethical" to hand public school students "a piece of paper telling them they are ready for success." Somehow, it must be inherently obvious that private school students are ready to succeed.

Passing the MCAS to receive a diploma should only be a requirement if it applies to all graduating seniors, public and private schools alike. Otherwise, the MCAS is nothing more than a discriminatory ``piece of paper."

Virginia Ann Brophy

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