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Reasons to be optimistic over the discouraging Common Core test results

To the editor: Results from our new state test based on the Common Core standards do not define our students' abilities or potential. It's one step in a longer journey. ("What will the Common Core test results show?," editorial, Sept. 8)

Many teachers like me are not panicking. We are, however, looking to what's next in making the continued transition to higher standards smooth and supportive. This school year, as we continue with Common Core and prepare for the next round of testing, transparency and communication will be key.

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The state should release sample questions and answers to show where our students are and what we're aiming for. Schools should create time and space for parents to learn about the standards and ask questions.

Most important, I hope my fellow teachers will put this year's exam into context in terms students will understand: Last year was a doggy paddle in the shallow end, and this year we dive into the deep end of the pool.

Working together, I believe we'll have a successful year.

Meghann Seril, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The problem with one-size-fits-all policies is that in practice the policy fits no one very well. So it is with California's requirement that every public school student demonstrate the ability to perform college-level work.

The justification appears to be the belief that, because those who have a college education are more likely to be economically successful, failing to prepare every student for college is tantamount to condemning him or her to penury.

But for students whose academic potential is limited by life's realities, school becomes an endless series of failures and college is not possible. For the majority of California's public school students, this standard for high school graduation is heartbreakingly unattainable.

How much better it would be for everyone if the curriculum were tailored to the abilities and interests of the student, and the goal of education were to support and motivate the student in becoming the best individual possible.

Carolyn Magnuson, Long Beach

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