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The biggest lessons in what school grades cannot measure come in small vignettes: A two-hour-a-week custodian sitting on a cafeteria table opposite a slightly chubby little girl with pigtails tying her shoe; third graders running to hug their second-grade teachers because they still love them so much; and a teacher crying over a child for whom all the testing in the world will not help us figure how to fill all his deficits.

School grades cannot measure love, commitment and grit. I think that this is what scares legislators. They do not want the things that are truly amazing about public schools to be seen, for that undermines their battle against all kids getting an equal education.

Yet, without equal access, without schools that strive to help all students, I believe that those things that make us great will fail. I can only hope that parents will recognize this and see beyond the simple letter on a page.

Nicole Svee Magann

Salt Lake City

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