Editor:

I've heard parents say they've been told by guidance counselors that opting out of state tests will automatically disqualify their children from placement in advanced programs in middle school. I'm sure, based on policies and decisions of other districts, that it can determined that (Standards Based Assessment test) results are not the main (or even most important) factor in determining qualifications for advanced placement. There are several other factors, such as classroom grades, teacher recommendation, and parent feedback, which are much more important and more reliable.

In a season when the SBA is being moved into an untested computer environment, the validity of these tests for any decision-making process (teacher or student-related) is questionable, at best. Teachers are, as I write, being asked to waste even more time on "practice tests," to make sure that all of the money wasted to prepare for the real thing isn't going to result in infrastructure meltdown or other problems.

(New Mexico Public Education Department's) rush to implement faulty policies is turning our schools into chaos.

The SBA scores should not the be-all-to-end-all of student academic decisions. Especially decisions that should not be based upon such unstable measures.

Parents have the right to refuse state tests that are not designed to validly measure their students proficiencies, and which have damaged learning and teaching in our state. Our children have the right to not be harassed or threatened for refusing. We can't afford any further disruption to our school days and learning environments. Parents have the right to be highly involved in the education process of their children. A growing number of us are finding that mandated standardized testing has no place in a high-quality instructional structure.

KRIS L. NIELSEN

NM Refuse the Tests

Las Cruces