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Thursday's Letters to the Editor

STAR test spin

EDITOR: Dan Walters' Sept. 12 column (“School test conflict heats up again”) criticizing the suspension of STAR testing as schools move to the new Common Core standards assessment was an unnecessary exercise in political spin.

If STAR tests were to continue, they would be measuring how well students learn standards that are not being taught anymore. What kind of sense does that make?

Suspending STAR testing during this transition period makes sense as schools tool up for full implementation of Common Core. In two years, schools will be back to fully assessing how well students are learning the new Common Core standards.

U.S. Education Secretary Arnie Duncan is quoted in the column as saying “no one wants to over-test, but . . .” Yet that is exactly what we would be doing if we continue using STAR during this transition. The article also quotes EdVoice as saying, “Without valid and reliable statewide assessment data, there will be no accountability.”

The problem here is that STAR is no longer a valid and reliable assessment tool.

ROBERT TAVONATTI

Executive director, Pathways Charter School

Rohnert Park

Arming Syria's rebels

EDITOR: I was horrified by your Sept. 12 front-page headline: “U.S. arms flowing to rebels in Syria.” With hundreds of thousands of refugees with no water, no sanitation, no housing, nothing, we are sending guns to kill more people. What is wrong with this country, my country, which puts murder before humanitarian aid? What is the difference between one strike as proposed by the president and arming a population? Why is the administration so hell-bent on starting a conflagration in the Middle East and Asia?

I grew up in World War II and have been protesting numerous wars ever since. Now, an old woman, I am frightened. I pray for peace for my children, my grandchildren, for everyone's children and grandchildren. We must stop Dr. Strangelove.

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