Candidate should see tests in the real world

Michelle Trusty-Murphy is the classic example of the liberal who quite willingly trades her common sense for an academic degree, and then becomes so affected with her own self-importance as a result of that degree, she somehow believes she is qualified and deserving to the seat now held by Dave Cook on the Nevada State Board of Education.

She opposes the idea of a high standards based educational system for Nevada and is also against proficiency tests. Apparently, she doesn't believe the kids of Nevada are capable of anything except mediocrity and poor performance. Dave Cook believes Nevada's kids are capable of great things and can meet any challenge. He should be retained.

"In the real world of business and life, people are not required to take bubble tests to prove their worth ...," she once opined in a letter to the Nevada Appeal. It would appear that Ms. Murphy has been living in a bubble.

In the real world, when I get on an airplane, I want a pilot who has been held to the highest standards of flight training. When one of my loved ones needs an operation, I want a surgeon who has been held to the highest standards of the American medical profession. And on a Saturday afternoon, when I root for American athletes in the Olympics, I intuitively know they won't win the "gold" unless they have trained to meet the highest standards of international competition.

In many areas of my life, I expect - and demand - high standards. Most of us know that high standards have great value, because in the final analysis they help bring out the best in us. The philosophy Ms. Murphy espouses has proven that when we do not hold all students to high academic standards, the result is the tragedy of children leaving school ill-prepared to cope with the adversities of life, and cheated from never being challenged to fulfill their potential.

She once quipped in a newspaper article, "I did horribly on every standardized test I ever took, but I have a Ph.D. and I got it in record time." This is a specious argument. If she is trying to draw a correlation between her poor performance on standardized tests and her being awarded a Ph.D. in English, and that this somehow supports her argument against testing, she fails again. This is known as the Argument from Correlation fallacy. Correlation does not prove cause. It proves nothing. It was easy for me to spot this simplistic argument because I had a Jesuit priest who demanded high standards from me when I took his logic and philosophy class. I got an A on his test.

Once again, in Ms. Murphy's own words about the Nevada State Proficiency Test: "The problem is not the kids, it's the test." Now, it is well known that the Reno Gazette-Journal has a liberal viewpoint. However, in an editorial, even they disagree with the thinking of Ms. Murphy and her breed. "...It's important that the state not back off its requirements that graduates pass the proficiency exam, despite the few critics who blame the testing program for students' programs rather than the students themselves. While they excuse the failing students, they fail to explain why 95 percent of the (Washoe County) district's seniors were able to do what 5 percent could not." This is the first time I have agreed with anything the RGJ has published!

Every student must pass the proficiency exam in order to graduate from high school with a standard diploma. Ms. Murphy incorrectly interprets NRS 389.017 Sec. 6 to mean that students whose primary language is not English and whose English language skills are below the proficiency level are exempt from taking the exam for the purposes of receiving a diploma. Ms. Murphy irresponsibly believes these kids who are "language challenged" should also receive diplomas. In other words, Ms. Murphy would hand out diplomas to kids who can't read, write or speak English!

As a Republican and a conservative, I support Gov. Guinn's Millennium Scholarship concept. It is a new concept for the Nevada educational bureaucracy, and no doubt, it has some minor flaws in its current form. However, these small discrepancies will be dealt with under the leadership of Governor Guinn. You guessed it! Ms. Murphy wants the proficiency test as a requirement for obtaining the Millennium Scholarship eliminated. Not only is she against standards, she is against requirements! Dave Cook will be able to work with the governor to improve Nevada's educational system. We have had enough of the Trusty-Murphys of the world.


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