Grasmick's education legacy not so stellar

It was so refreshing and delightful to read Marta Mossburg's recent column peeling back years of carefully crafted veneer to expose Nancy Grasmick's true legacy and set the record straight ("Maryland's uneducated graduates," May 11). Ten years ago, I retired from teaching middle school language arts in Anne Arundel County, and even then I was sickened by Ms. Grasmick's shallow programs, impossible goals, and unabashed self-promotion in the guise of helping the "children."

Even 10 years ago every lesson had to be geared to the ill-advised and failed MSPAP tests at the expense of devoting time to basic reading and math skills. The teaching of grammar was discouraged, but students were expected to write and answer questions in the formulaic MSPAP style.

There are new standardized tests now, but it seems like not much has changed. Students are pushed to take the most challenging classes and to meet arbitrary and unreasonable standards. It's still the one-size-fits-all mindset. For the past 10 years I've been tutoring students of all ages, mostly SAT prep, and I witness firsthand the shockingly weak math and writing skills of students who take pride in being in AP and honors classes. I'm always baffled by the dichotomy. Perhaps Ms. Grasmick's successor can right the ship. It's listing badly.

Rick Nagel, Pasadena

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