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Proposition 98 and Test Scores

October 15, 1988

Joel Fox attempts to make a correlation between the No on Proposition 98 campaign and the recent CAP testing issue ("Scandal Should Raise a Flag About School Fund Measure," Op-Ed Page, Sept. 28). His effort to discredit Proposition 98 through such an obscure relationship from my perspective is without success.

Because I was named in this article, I am expressing in this letter views which are mine, and may not be the views of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the superintendent, or the Board of Education. The letter will provide information which may put the testing issue and the correlation attempt into perspective.

Cheating of any type destroys integrity both personal and institutional. At no time did I or would I condone cheating. His reference to me through a quote is out of context--a typical advocacy strategy. My quote referenced assistance to students in ways which could be debated as appropriate or inappropriate, but in no way does the quote reference erasing of wrong answers and the making of these erasures into right answers. That behavior is a matter of ethics and any person who acts in an unethical manner is making a personal choice. Such behavior when identified should not be tolerated by any person or institution and should be censured on its own level of merit.

An investigation into the CAP testing issue was initiated by the district in January, 1987, to insure the credibility of the district's testing program. The overriding questions throughout the investigation were what occurred and who might be culpable. The investigation clearly identified what had occurred and the report made recommendations as to what action to take regarding personnel who might be culpable including: notice of unsatisfactory act; letter of reprimand, and other appropriate disciplinary procedure.

The determination of culpability became enmeshed in a number of issues. The most critical one was the need for a clear relationship between the extensive information of what occurred as it applied to any particular individual. It may be that the private investigator to be hired by the Board of Education will be able to identify relationship and culpability within due process and provide substantiating evidence to implement the disciplinary actions recommended in the report. This hiring of an investigator further substantiates the district's concern for integrity.

The summary point is that Fox has attempted to discredit Proposition 98 by applying an argument which is totally out of context. Proposition 98 should be judged on its own merit and not on an inappropriate and illogical correlation.

PAUL M. POSSEMATO

Anaheim

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