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Tax Dollars at Work

Tax Dollars at Work

Susan Ohanian, a former elementary school teacher who has writtenseveral books on education, doesn't have much cause for schoolsecurity officers or state troopers to come knocking on the doorof her Vermont home. So she was taken by surprise when officerstraveled all the way from Gwinnett County, Ga., to see her inlate July. The officers were accompanied by a Vermont State Trooperand made threats of fingerprints, search warrants, extradition,and felony-related charges.

The reason? A copy of a standardized test to be given to studentsin Gwinnett County had been leaked to the media last April beforethe test was administered.

Ohanian has never been to Gwinnett County, Ga. However, she isa nationally known critic of high-stakes standardized tests andauthor of the book One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards. Furthermore, some of the photocopied Gwinnett County tests weremailed anonymously and bore a postmark not far from Ohanian'shome in Charlotte, Vt.

The controversy involves the $6 million Gateway test developedby McGraw-Hill for fourth and seventh graders in Gwinnett County,Georgia's largest school district. Officials have mandated thetest even though the district is one of the best in the stateat producing high test scores.

The leaked test involves the fourth-grade test. It isn't clearif the test was stolen out of a school or if the leak occurredat the printers or at McGraw Hill. The Gwinnett County PublicSchools will not comment on the case because the investigationis continuing. The officers visiting Ohanian were employees ofthe school district and are known as School Resource Officers.

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