I am responding to Karl Neathammer's letter "Candidate should see tests in the real world," which appeared in the Nevada Appeal on July 25. I am a conservative Republican who supports Dr. Michelle Trusty-Murphy in her bid for a seat on the Nevada State Board of Education.
Dr. Trusty-Murphy does not oppose the idea of high standards, she does not even oppose the use of the proficiency test. She simply makes the case that one test should not determine whether or not a child graduates from high school. When the state gets involved in issues of local control, and tries to direct curriculum through the use of outcome based education, every citizen should step up and take notice.
Dr. Trusty-Murphy believes that tests are important tools to guide us in our understanding of a child's progress, but the current Nevada High School Proficiency Test is deeply flawed. Taxpayers pay approximately $1 million dollars a year for the proficiency test, but we are not allowed to see past versions of the test to insure it is accurate or reasonable. We don't even know what our kids are being tested on. A test with no accountability does not insure accountability.
The Nevada High School Proficiency Test is not aligned to any of the current education standards adopted by the state of Nevada - in fact, the test and the standards were created by two different committees! I think Mr. Neathammer has obviously been prodded by Mr. Cook to write a letter in order to divert attention away from Mr. Cook's upcoming ethics commission hearing. Mr. Cook is obviously desperate to keep the attention away from his unethical behavior and his severe and ongoing conflict of interest in representing his constituency.
Michelle Trusty-Murphy protects parents rights, the rights of home school children, the rights of private school children, and the rights of local people to make local decisions about education in local communities.
Mr. Cook represents state control of education, and the union controlled professional standards committee - and has been endorsed by the teacher's union year after year after year.