Ah, Love, Let Us Be True, or at Least Be Accurate|
The New York Times
January 30, 2003
New York State education officials have promised to stop
sanitizing and tampering with famous literary works
excerpted on state exams, but for the third time in a row
they have been caught.
On the English Regents exam being administered this week
statewide, high school students are asked to compare two
passages using the idea of friendship.
One passage is the last stanza from Matthew Arnold's
classic poem "Dover Beach." The stanza begins: "Ah, love,
let us be true."
The state test version reads: "Ah, friend, let us be true."
Several sharp English teachers caught the change, and
complained, according to Tom Dunn, a state education
In June, after news accounts reported that Regents exams
had sanitized many famous writers, including cutting out
references to Jews and Gentiles in Isaac Bashevis Singer's
work, officials promised to end the practice. But the
August exam changed the words of several writers, including
Mr. Dunn said the state had been adhering to new accuracy
guidelines, but the change in the Arnold poem came about
because officials used a 1969 anthology on friendship that
misquoted the poem.
His explanation did not impress Annie Thoms, an English
teacher at Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan.
"Don't they have anyone making up the exam who can
recognize one of the most famous poems in the English
language?" she asked.
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