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Cheating on School Tests

October 02, 1988

Your naive editorial "Test of Honesty" (Sept. 20) testifies to your ignorance of our "esteemed" educational system. Teachers are well-educated, dedicated, underpaid professionals who, in most cases, serve at the whim of their principals.

In large school systems, like Los Angeles Unified School District, teachers can be moved around like pawns on a chessboard. In independent schools, teacher can be fired in an instant, and have no right of appeal.

The reasons teachers remain in the classroom are far too complex to analyze here. Suffice it to say that they gain a sense of fulfillment from educating and inspiring young people, which they still manage to do despite everything.

When you blast the policy of teaching test-taking, you must be very careful as to where you place the blame. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that students do not automatically lose their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door. But in many instances, teachers in that school do lose those very rights.

You should also bear in mind that most high school students study test-taking in preparation for their Scholastic Aptitude Test exams. College students take practice graduate school admission tests. Attorneys enroll in review courses to practice test-taking for their Bar exams. The policy of teaching test-taking is deeply entrenched in our educational system.

Please direct your blame elsewhere than upon the overburdened shoulders of dedicated teachers.

BETTY RASKOFF KAZMIN

Los Angeles

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