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[Susan notes: This is a great letter. We need to call people to account for their deeds.

Sue Allison is the director of Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing.]

Published in Baltimore Sun

To the editor

State school board has so little to lose

The Sun's article about the Maryland state school board's coming vote on the High School Assessments quotes one testing expert who says it will take "political courage" for a board member to vote to make the HSA a graduation requirement ("Graduation exams test states' will," Oct. 8).

But what courage is required for a board member to vote to shred the diplomas of students who don't pass a series of state standardized tests?

Board members have nothing to lose. They don't have to win re-election. Most of them were appointed by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and they answer to no one.

And no matter how the vote goes in October, they will still have their livelihoods and their own diplomas hanging on a wall someplace (diplomas they probably didn't have to pass a high-stakes test to receive).

Their own children have probably already graduated from high school.

After they cast this vote that could ruin the lives of thousands of Maryland students (who are other people's children), they will get out of their padded chairs in the boardroom and go home in their nice cars to their nicely furnished homes - with their own futures secure.

Courage, my foot.

Sue Allison

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