THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
MISUNDERSTANDING CHARTER SCHOOLS, MCAS

Full story on testing

April 20, 2010

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LAWRENCE HARMON does not have the full story on Diane Ravitch or Massachusetts schools. His criticism of Ravitch admitting Massachusetts and its MCAS testing as an “inconvenient truth’’ is a false analysis. While she may admire the academic performance of many Massachusetts students, the state is far from providing a quality education for all. And that includes charters.

Recently, the Globe reported that a significant number of students failed the science test. Some of the shortfall in MCAS testing is because of low economic conditions that are pernicious beginning long before the bust in 2008. Single-parent homes leave the child unattended for hours because the parent is out earning a modest living, but there is also little energy and time for guidance. Another reason that some students fail is because of a widespread lack of good teaching in science, although there might be good teachers at the secondary level.

The major condition, however, is that MCAS has a decidedly negative effect on the humanities and the arts. With the excessive preoccupation on testing in English and math (and now science), there is no room or energy for becoming human.

Finally, Harmon misunderstands Ravitch in her view toward schooling. She is definitely on the side of public schooling, which demands support for public schools in all aspects. When the public school as an institution goes down and becomes a business, we are doomed in achieving the democratic principles of this nation.

ANTHONY J. PALMER,
Boston
The author is a visiting scholar at the School of Music at Boston University.

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