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Stop obsessing over student testing

Another school year, another new curriculum, another new standardized test, another year where too many graduating seniors will get good grades, pass the tests and still need remedial courses in college, and another set of excuses, some new and some recycled. And another year for politicians to boast about their efforts in education.

There once was a time when students were accountable for their behavior, learning, homework and attendance, and parents were responsible for teaching and enforcing social values, and getting their children to attend school and do their homework. There once was a time when politicians stayed out of education because they knew they had no clue, when principals were educators and not accountants or politicians, and when teachers were respected and not the focus of political rhetoric.

There was once a time when school and classroom discipline facilitated learning, and classroom disruption was not accepted. There once was a time when the curriculum and classroom time were focused on education and not just on passing the test. There once was a time when "the test" was used to help identify individual student needs and not used for generalized conclusions. There once was a time when history, social science, the arts and physical education were integral parts of a balanced education.

Until we return to the basics of education and get away from the obsession with "the test," we will continue to fall behind the rest of the world and continue to fail in preparing our young people for life.

E. Yates, Ellicott City

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