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State BOE president gets an earful during listening tour

David Foster, president of the Virginia Board of Education, came to Mathews County on a listening tour last Thursday night. And he certainly got an earful.

Much of the two-hour long meeting focused on complaints about the state’s Standards of Learning and what is seen by many of those present as an overly demanding emphasis on increasingly rigorous standardized testing.

About 50 people, primarily local educators, school administrators and elected officials, attended the program, which was held in the Thomas Hunter Middle School multi-purpose room.

"I beg of you—stop the insanity of SOL testing," urged Judy Rowe of Gwynn, a retired educator and self-described student advocate. "I am not against standards and testing," she said, "but I am vehemently against what Virginia has done with these two essential components. Sir, you have put them on steroids. We are testing kids to death.

"When a third or fourth grader spends seven hours taking a test, what damage does it d...

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