Nancy Grasmick, state superintendent of Maryland schoolsstated that the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program is measuring performance according to some tough expectations for the year 2000.
During the week of May 11, students in grades 3, 5 and 8 in all Maryland schools, spent approximately two and one-half hours per day challenging "Nancy's test." At the same time, thousands of teachers spent many hours challenging the confusing directions to "Nancy's test."
Prior to testing, administrators faced the challenge of obtaining the various paraphernalia to support "Nancy's test."
In short, a great deal of time and money has been directed to supporting "Nancy's test."
How difficult is the task faced by those taking the test? As a test proctor for the eighth grade test during the last two years, I found the test challenging -- much too challenging for the majority of eighth grade students.
I will admit that there were questions I would have found difficult or impossible to answer.
Some of the vocabulary used in the test could not be found in the dictionary. Students were not allowed sufficient time to read the resource material and to think before writing a response.
I would like to see Superintendent Grasmick, Governor Schaefer and all members of the Maryland State Board of Education take the entire eighth grade test.
Then I would like to see their group score published in the newspaper in the same manner that the school results will be published. It must be remembered that people will never see their individual test results.
In addition, I would hope that a group of parents would volunteer to take the test in order to understand what their children are being required to endure.
For the majority of eighth grade students, a feeling of total frustration descends upon them by the last day of testing. Teachers have worked all year to help students develop a positive self image; "Nancy's test" serves to destroy that.
Don't take Ms. Grasmick's word for what the test is intended to do, and don't take my word for what I believe the test has done. Ask the principal at your child's school to show you the test and spend some time reading the questions and working out the answers, never forgetting that third, fifth or eighth grade students are required to take this test.
A reasonable challenge is one thing; an impossible task is another thing entirely.
The Next President
I am appalled, as are many thoughtful citizens, at the so-called coverage by the media of the presidential candidates. There is little substance and a great deal of what can be classified as character assassination.
While the faults of an incumbent in the discharge of his duties in office must certainly be scrutinized very carefully, this does not extend to his personal life that has no bearing upon his function in office.
There are many things that I don't like about George Bush, but my opposition to him is based upon his very poor record in office as regards both domestic and foreign policies.
With reference to Bill Clinton, I am certain the Bush forces will smear him just as they did with Michael Dukakis. They are experts at this kind of campaigning. Therefore, I don't believe that the people will support him.
Which brings us to H. Ross Perot. Even discounting the defects of the other two candidates, Mr. Perot is superior to them. Concerning faults, the only ones that could be found in Mr. Perot are two ludicrous charges that appeared in your paper by supposed pundits: He is trying to buy the presidency, and he lobbied the government for his interests.
Concerning the first charge -- from whom is he trying to buy the presidency? He has not offered me nor anyone that I know any bribe to induce us to vote for him. And even if he would want to bribe the public to vote for him, $100 million dollars would be a mere drop in the bucket in order to accomplish it.
Even a stupid person can understand that he is talking of spending that money for the purpose of publicizing his ideas.
The second charge is just as ridiculous. Unfortunately, all who do business with the government find that they cannot rely upon the quality and price of their products or work alone. Therefore, they find it necessary to lobby. While Mr. Perot deplores this situation, he is not that foolish as not to do his own lobbying in order to protect his business interests.
On the positive side, he is a successful businessman, he is knowledgeable in domestic and foreign affairs, he is beholden to no one and he is not a career politician who depends upon his political office for either his livelihood or his prestige. Therefore he is free to think and act in the best interests of the country as a whole. In short, he will be a statesman rather than a politician.
I am for Mr. Perot, and I talk him up wherever and whenever I can. I expect him to be the next president of the United States.
Manuel M. Poliakoff
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