High-stakes testing was among the chief topics of concern as the state Board of Education held a forum at Anne Arundel County's school administration headquarters.
Several parents and teachers - some of whom said they were part of a group known as Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing - strongly opposed the tests, which could determine whether students receive high school diplomas, regardless of previous academic records. State officials plan to make the passing of several high school assessments a graduation requirement by 2007.
"We can't cut these kids off at the knees based on one test," said group member Sue Allison, echoing the concerns of several others who had spoken, "I don't want my child's diploma riding on a profit-making testing company."
Board Vice President Reginald L. Dunn said afterward that he shared some concerns about the testing program.
"We have to have some way to measure performance," Dunn said, but he added, "I don't believe we should couple any exam to graduation without adequate funding to help [students] learn."
The five members of the board in attendance, including Dunn and President Marilyn D. Maultsby, listened and accepted documents from people presenting concerns, but they did not make any statements about the issues that were raised.
Some teachers spoke out against new daily schedules that went into effect this year in Anne Arundel, complaining that arts and foreign language education were shortchanged and that the jobs of teachers in those subjects were put in jeopardy.
Parent and first-grade teacher Margaret Green said she was concerned about having inadequate time to prepare lessons.