Let WASL adjust to fit all students

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 12:02pm

It isn’t about lowering standards or backing away from the concept of excellence in public schools.

No, the idea of providing some students a key to the shackles that the the Washington Assessment of Student Learning has become is a step toward adding what has been missing all along: acknowledgement that students don’t give up their individual strengths and needs just because they are forced to be part of a definable group.

The Founding Fathers may have pronounced “all Men are created equal …” but that doesn’t mean all students come to class with the same hopes, dreams and abilities.

No one doesn’t want a strong public education system where skills are honed, deficiencies bolstered and graduation is an accomplishment. However, a system that forces all the raw material through the same hole is more appropriate for a sausage factory than a challenging, nurturing education system.

Educators know this, that’s why there are advanced math classes and remedial reading groups.

Parents know this, that’s why they – those who bother to attend – come to parent/teacher conferences asking what can be done to help their child’s individual needs.

Students know this, that’s why some trumpet and others hide their report cards.

And now, the Democratic majority in Olympia knows it, that’s why they sent a bill to Gov. Chris Gregoire that would make the WASL knothole just a bit bigger.

Gregoire has said she’s reluctant to sign, feeling that she’d be lowering the bar. The governor needs to go back to school – perhaps literally in the district of one of the 42 superintendents who urged passage of this bill – to see that when it comes to education, one size does not fit all.

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