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Week in review: laurels and darts

(03/23/12 4:00am)

State officials will investigate nine New Jersey schools in the coming weeks for possible cheating, nj.com reported earlier this week. The probe comes on the heels of a two-year examination, during which investigators discovered unusually high rates of erasure marks on standardized tests at 34 schools across the Garden State. Now, we’re not necessarily savvy on the relationship between the number of erasure marks on a test and instances of cheating, but we cannot imagine that there’s a definite correlation between the two. Preliminary investigations cleared 14 of the original 34 schools of possible cheating, according to Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf — a strong indication that these erasure marks are leading investigators down a dead end. Education officials deserve a dart for going to these lengths. Students shouldn’t have to fear that they will be accused of cheating for making changes to their tests. Taking this kind of action seems not only strangely paranoid, but detrimental to a student’s test-taking experience.



Protest genetically engineered foods

(03/05/12 5:00am)

I want to address comments the Center for Science in the Public Interest Director Gregory Jaffe made in the article “Director busts myths behind biotechnology” published on March 1 in The Daily Targum. Genetically engineered (GE) foods are harmful to consumers. There has been a stream of new information showing the risks of GE foods to not only the health of consumers, but for the environment as well. France first banned GE corn in 2008, Peru put in place a 10-year ban on GE crops, and Hungary destroyed acres of genetically engineered corn that had been planted.