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[Susan notes: I first discovered how corrupt the Education Week state ratings were while writing my book One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards (pub 1999). These ratings are as biased--and as corrupt--as ever. The Emperor of Ratings has no clothes.]

Published in Boston Globe
01/18/2008

To the editor

YOUR LEAD Jan. 14 editorial

"A leader for state education," while

lauding the fact that i>Education Week ranks Massachusetts tops for student

achievement on standardized tests, takes issue with the achievement gap

between poor and better-off students. Everyone, especially those of us in

public education, would like nothing more than to see achievement spread

across the socioeconomic spectrum.



The fact is that the things that we in education can control, such as lesson

planning, grading, individualized instruction, and inspiring learning, do

reach the majority of students, hence our ranking. The things out of our

control, such as homelessness, poor learning environment at home,

malnutrition, drug abuse, violence in the family, and poor healthcare,

continually burden many of our underachievers.



One way to narrow the gap is to deprive our best and brightest of the

necessary tools to become tomorrow's problem solvers. Sadly, that seems to

be the direction that we are taking in this state, as communities abandon

their gifted and talented programs (if they ever had them) to close budget

deficits. Increased class sizes, pruning of curriculum, cutting art and

music programs (those "frills") are now the norm.



Hey, maybe another round of standardized tests, sapping more hours from

instruction, will do the trick.





The writer is social studies coordinator for the Bridgewater-Raynham

Regional School District.

Robert Kostka


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