State Lowers the Bar

BOSTON GLOBE, Sept. 28— The Massachusetts Board of Education wants to allow students to graduate even if they do not reach the “proficient” level on statewide tests.

The decision, not yet approved, is in reaction to prediction that many from the Class of 2003 will not pass the test based on preliminary tests, reported the Boston Globe.

Board members justified the move on the grounds that many areas on the exam covered material not taught in every school statewide, said the report. In addition, they said, the testing is still in its early stages, so the bar must start low.

“The starting point would not be at the proficient level,” board chairman James Peyser told the Globe. “How far below is the question we need to determine.”

The Board also recommended that on only two subjects, English and mathematics, should students be required to pass, rather than five that the Legislature mandated.

Homeschooling Hits the Mainstream

RELIGION TODAY, Sept. 28— Just a small movement of a few hundred back in 1983, the number of children schooled at home has swelled to 1.5 million, and home-schoolers are getting noticed, reported the Internet publication.

At a conference on Sept. 24, Republican presidential candidates tried to outdue each other in heaping praise on the homeschooling parents. Steve Forbes declared, “You've shamed the regular school system with what you've achieved,” according to the report. Governor Bush said that homeschooling should be “protected from the interference of government.”

Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes, as well as independent Sen. Bob Smith also agreed that the government should leave home-schoolers alone, it added.