It's still about the student

State Sen. Bill Raggio is to be commended for going the extra mile in making sure Harcourt Educational Management cleans up all the mess it caused by misreporting scores on high-school proficiency tests.

The company, which flunked 736 Nevada students who had actually passed a math test, was prepared to pay $425,000 to compensate for costs incurred by school districts due to the error.

But Raggio, a Reno Republican, quickly went to the heart of the matter -- students and parents.

"I can't think of anything more devastating in high school than to be told you've flunked this test," said Raggio.

So it wasn't enough for him that the company would compensate the schools. He wanted the families compensated, as well.

That means paying the costs of any parents or students who hired tutors, paid for summer school or took any other measures to catch up what they erroneously thought were failing math skills.

More important, Raggio told state Education Superintendent Jack McLaughlin to find out if any students drop out of school because of the misreported test scores. They shouldn't be too hard to track, and now that the results have been cleared up, it's unlikely a student would cite the foul-up as the reason for leaving school.

Still, it's something for all of us to keep in mind as we debate test scores and proficiency levels and the bureaucracy of education: How does it affect the students? Raggio made sure Harcourt keeps that in mind.


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