Delaying new graduation tests won't serve Oklahoma high school students

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: March 6, 2012
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Those who want to delay the testing requirements continue to offer up new excuses for the need to do so. We suspect they'll keep going until they find one that resonates enough to declare victory. We should define victory as educating students so well that excuses aren't necessary.

The latest excuse is that the state hasn't provided enough money to provide remedial instruction for students who didn't pass the tests on the first try. Sanders calls that a “bad excuse.”

A fair approach, she says, is allowing students to retake tests, take alternate tests, substitute approved projects, giving them remediation opportunities or allowing students a fifth year of high school.

“I don't believe there's a student I've ever had who couldn't pass under those circumstances,” she said.

We also have to wonder what message lawmakers will send to students if they back off now. They should remember one of those golden rules of parenting about not making idle threats. It's tough to be a lawmaker when it comes to this issue. But it's absolutely time for some tough love.

Sanders said many of her students don't appreciate the value of a high school diploma until it's too late. The testing requirement forces them to care now — even if it will be years before they understand a diploma's importance.

Lawmakers who think repeal is the answer should heed Sanders' words:

“We need to believe in our kids.”

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