The "former critics" referred to in the Dec. 15 editorial, "Toward the next steps in school reform," are the many parents who gathered data concerning high school testing, the 240,000 members of the Maryland PTA and the public.
This group "dropped opposition" because the State Board of Education, in its 2 1/2 -hour discussion before voting, made several commitments indicating its responsiveness to parent and public concerns.
The state board has indicated it will extend the testing phase-in timetable with evaluation points at each phase.
It will agree to seek state funding to assist with remediation and teacher training so the reform is more about school improvement than state testing.
The board will agree to a checkpoints timetable for curriculum integration. The board agreed to a waiver process for the citizenship tests.
It will agree to quarterly school-system progress reports. It will agree to creating an "opportunity to learn" environment for each child regardless of geography. The board agreed to continue the Superintendent's High School Advisory Council.
For school reform to be successful, parents must be involved from the very beginning, through the developmental stages, and in the final acceptance.
PTAs look forward to these agreements becoming reality in the next action steps by the State Board of Education.
Carmela A. Veit
The writer is president of the Maryland Congress of Parents and Teachers.
Pub Date: 12/22/97