Volume XI, Issue 39 ~ September 25 - October 1, 2003

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Letters to the Editor

High-Stakes Text Failures Weird But Not New

Dear Bay Weekly:
A couple of weeks ago you printed an item about a 2003 valedictorian from a high school in New Orleans, Louisiana, who lost her diploma to a high-stakes exit exam [More Things to Worry About: News of the Weird, Vol. XI, No 35: Aug. 28]. This news item was not as weird as it was tragic and prophetic. During the first week of this school year, Maryland families were greeted with horrifying headlines proclaiming that one in two students are failing the Maryland High School Assessments, exit exams that could be required for graduation as soon as 2009.

Maryland is following Louisiana, Florida, California, Massachusetts and many other states down a track to a graduation train wreck. The reviled Florida FCAT exams cost the class of 2003 nearly 10,000 diplomas last spring. In Massachusetts, over 4,000 diplomas were lost when the MCAS exit-exam boom was lowered for the first time on the class of 2003. Many who failed these tests were honor-roll students, just like the valedictorian in Louisiana. Most had successfully completed all required coursework. Some missed passing the make-or-break tests by just a point or two. Many who failed had already been accepted to college or were looking forward to joining the military — plans that were dashed when they lost their diplomas to high-stakes tests.

Students all over the country are failing high stakes tests for reasons completely unrelated to their achievement: misaligned instruction, test anxiety, learning disabilities, English-as-a-second-language issues, flawed test questions and undiscovered scoring errors by private testing companies.

High stakes graduation testing is dangerous, unfair and wrong for Maryland. It’s time that Marylanders put an end to the ill-conceived Maryland High School Assessments program before we are reading about Maryland students being robbed of their futures.

— Sue Allison, Lusby; coordinator of Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing • www.geocities.com/stophsa.

Supporting the Arts

Dear Bay Weekly:
I am checking back with you on behalf of the Maryland Federation of Art. I had contacted you about a summer fundraising event, For Art’s Sake, that you indicated Bay Weekly would try to run an advance story on. Writer Sonia Linebaugh was out of town and could not get to it until after the event, which we understood.

However, to our disappointment, advance coverage of Paint Annapolis 2003 also did not materialize. Again, we understand how publications&Mac226; priorities and writers’ story assignments can fluctuate.

We are now hoping you can consider my request for MFA coverage related to a different, upcoming event, Collector’s Choice on Sunday, October 26, at Annapolis Volvo and benefiting the MFA.

— Carol Dreyfuss for Maryland Federation of Art

Editor’s note: Bay Weekly indeed works hard to cover the arts in Chesapeake Country, but sometimes missing an event is outside our control. In this case, Linebaugh, who is our chief visual arts writer, contacted four Plein Air painters seeking interviews. The only one who replied was in Berlin, Maryland, outside our readership area. We’re sorry these artists were are not able to take advantage of our offer for advance publicity. We did, however, use a photo of a Plein Air painter on our cover.

Department of Corrections

Gambling on Gambling [Vol. XI, No 37: Sept. 11] misidentified Rosecroft Raceway as Maryland’s only harness-racing track. Ocean Downs Race Track on the Eastern Shore in Berlin has a summer meet each year.

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].



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Last updated September 25, 2003 @ 12:57am