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WHY NOT PREPARE STUDENTS FOR TECHNICAL JOBS?

A Dec. 15 "My View" column by State Education Commissioner Richard Mills argued for the new Regents plan, which requires all students to pass five Regents exams in order to graduate from high school in 2005 and thereafter. I believe this plan is flawed for two reasons.

First, a substantial number of students will not be able to pass all five exams and therefore will not graduate. Second, it is not desirable that all students be required to pass all five Regents exams in order to graduate.

How many students will not be able to pass no matter how much extra help they are given? Mills states that more than 90 percent who took the English exam in June passed it. However, that was only one test out of the five and only required a passing score of 55.

What will be the percentage for all five tests and with the soon-required passing grade of 65? What happens to those not passing all five? Are they thrown on the trash heap of high-school dropouts, unable to find a job or contribute to society?

The Regents exams are all academically oriented with the emphasis toward four-year college preparation. Yes, students may require more English, math and history than they presently receive, but they don't necessarily require more college-preparatory levels of these subjects.

This country needs more highly skilled technologists than it does more college graduates -- more machinists, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, computer operators, machine operators.

I agree that higher standards need to be applied for high school graduation, but those standards should include the possibility of high-tech preparation for the modern work world.

DONALD ADAMS

Williamsville

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