Testing Program Gets Failing Grade

February 11, 1992|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

If Tom Paolino were grading the state's new school performance testing program, he'd flunk it.

Paolino, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, told state lawmakers Friday that the year-old testing program is diverting attention and scarce state dollars away from classroom instruction.

Anne Arundel County schools spent $1.1 million last year trainingadministrators and teachers to administer the Maryland Schools Performance Program tests, coaching students and manipulating their scores, Paolino said.

"It was all spent to make the teachers look good on their MSPP report cards," Paolino said.

Paolino urged lawmakers to oppose Gov. William Donald Schaefer's attempts this year to divert$60 million earmarked for teachers salaries and classroom instruction to the testing program and special education. Anne Arundel County could lose up to $3 million in classroom aid when the education systemis already financially strapped, he said.

Delegate John Gary, R-Millersville, said Paolino's request "has struck on some real sensitive nerves."

Gary said he is upset by the way the governor has manipulated the education budget. But, he said, for the teachers to "implythat we should do away with the (performance testing) is wishful thinking. We passed that in response to our constituents who wanted moreaccountability from our schools."

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