Your June 10 article "Senate OKs Bill to Block New Pa. Graduation Exams" contained an erroneous statement by Gov. Ed Rendell, in which he blamed the Pennsylvania State Education Association for leading the fight against a proposal to require school districts to impose punitive exit exams on high school students.
Such statements show disrespect to the parents, teachers, school administrators and organizations representing minority, special-needs and gifted students which, for over a year, have consistently opposed such proposals. Regional coalitions of school districts like the South Hills Area School Districts Association have passed resolutions opposing mandatory exit exams, and more resolutions are on the way.
In fact, education groups that represent hundreds of thousands of people, such as the Coalition for Effective and Responsible Testing (CERT) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania School Districts' Education Coalition, have testified at hearings and contacted policy-makers with letters, phone calls and visits, voicing opposition to a new round of tests that have no basis in research and would do nothing to improve student achievement.
As professionals directly involved with schools, we believe the key to ensuring that students leave high school prepared for secondary education and the work force is not in untested, unproven and costly proposals to require a new round of exams.
That is why nearly 20 organizations formed CERT and developed a plan to ensure high school diplomas are meaningful and help all students achieve. We urge readers to speak out in favor of educational reforms that research has shown will better prepare our students for the future.
LAWRENCE A. FEINBERG
Southeastern Pennsylvania School Districts Education Coalition
Pennsylvania PTA CERT (Coalition for Effective and Responsible Testing)