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Not easier tests, better schools are needed

After years of stagnation, Baltimore City shows encouraging growth in math and English test scores in 2018. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun video)

Instead of “dumbing down” standardized tests, why not raise the educational achievement levels of the students instead (“Maryland planning new state standardized tests to replace PARCC,” Sept. 11)? Since students scored in the 80s and 90s in standardized (MSA and HSA) testing and only in the 50s today, reinstate the students’ foundation in phonics, math tables, classic literature and composition studies, and science and social studies subjects (including specific terminologies) with sufficient time to learn them. Reinstate cursive writing as well or else we will a nation of half-literate citizens. According to Ivy League medical schools, The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times, physical education, art and music classes make brain pathways stronger.

Just as important, teach more life skills. Expand the consumer math curriculum and reinstate teaching patriotism and tolerance. The details of how many ways to kill a bill may escape, but “God Bless America” is forever; learning understanding of and respect for other cultures may help stem violence here and abroad. The Southern Poverty Law Center offers schools videos of such subjects free.

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Finally, let the state, city and counties provide sufficient funding to hire both teachers and aides well-trained and experienced in working with students with special needs.

Hilda Coyne, Baltimore

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