A group of students in a 9th grade government class at Northglenn High School in Colorado got an unconventional civics lesson recently.
The students wrote to Gov. Bill Owens, expressing concerns about a new law that calls for schools to get letter grades based on how students perform on the Colorado Student Assessment Program, a standards-based test.
The students asked the governor to take the test, which the students themselves will face for the first time as sophomores next school year.
A number of adult Coloradans took the test recently at the urging of state news organizations. But the governor was out of town on “Take the Test” day last month, and when he returned, he did not receive the Northglenn students’ missive in good humor.
“I will not give in to the threats of a group of high school students,” Gov. Owens declared in a May 1 letter. “I am certainly not concerned with my ability to pass a CSAP test, but I will certainly not take a test because a group of students—or others—demand that I do so.”
The students said in interviews last week that they were disappointed the governor did not appear to take seriously their concerns about the plan for grading schools.
“The governor’s not even listening to us,” said 9th grader Meghan Capra.
Classmate Danielle Hosford said the students weren’t just griping about having to take another test. “It’s what they do with the results,” she said.
The students have written again to the governor, asking to meet with him. “We have no intentions of intimidating you or anyone else in any way, shape, or form,” the letter says.
As of last week, the students were awaiting the governor’s reply. Mr. Owens’ press office declined to comment on the matter.
A version of this article appeared in the May 24, 2000 edition of Education Week