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Responsibility for School Test Scores

June 26, 1988

Your article "English Proficiency Emerges as Key to CAP Scores" (June 12), overall, seemed to make excuses for the public school system and minority groups.

I suggest the single largest difference between University High in Irvine and Valley School in Santa Ana Unified is the attitude of the parents toward education.

To condemn the schools totally is wrong. To condemn any group is wrong. A shared responsibility is called for. The preparation for the test is also key.

Perhaps the poorer scoring schools were more "honest" in the testing than the leaders. It would be relatively easy to spend numerous hours in test preparation and coaching and improve scores versus having the test results reflect the actual knowledge level of the student. The fact of poorly prepared high school seniors is well known. The responsibility rests on the students and parents as well as the public schools.

The schools are not performing, but rather acting as a 12-year revolving door extracting about $40,000 per student, regardless of the quality of the product turned out.

Perhaps a national competency test similar to European countries should be given outside the public school system. The result would mean one more year of high school with no compensation to the school district and a one-year delay in further schooling.

I am personally disappointed in the Huntington Beach Union High School District. If students were products of the free enterprise business system, 25% of these public schools would be out of business and their $40,000-plus teachers would be looking for work.

Perhaps the movie "Stand and Deliver" should be mandatory for all teachers during 1988 as an example of what is possible with a positive attitude and desire to make a difference.

TOM STEELE

Fountain Valley

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