Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Letters

February 22, 2013

Letters to the editor - Friday, Feb, 22, 2013

‘Cherry-picking’ bill just more sour grapes

Public schools are at it again. They are continuing to succeed and surpass expectations despite criticism and gross underfunding (more than $1 million in three years). They must be cheating.

Instead of applauding schools that have competed well and that offer outstanding academic opportunities for their students, some legislators are trying again to call “foul.” These same legislators are the ones who wanted schools to compete to be the best (to “Race to the Top”). Now that some schools have been rated by the state as high-performing, A-rated schools and are considered better than others, legislators are crying “it’s not fair” and want to take away a school’s choice to accept or deny students.

Administrators, teachers, students and families in the community have worked hard to create quality schools that will attract students. It’s not fair to tell them that now they no longer have any choice as to what kind of students come to the school. In addition, to assume that good schools will automatically ignore special needs students and embrace gifted athletes is, at best, unmerited. Can educators not be trusted to recognize what’s necessary to protect children except when they are putting themselves between students and a bullet?

If this is an issue of equality, it’s the kind of equality that brings everyone down. It keeps our brightest from truly achieving their best. It chains teachers’ abilities to teach at higher levels. It stigmatizes those who teach the challenged students. It puts unrealistic expectations on students who struggle and leaves them hopeless and defeated, when in reality they could be very successful if they were given opportunities to succeed in areas in which they are gifted.

If there is anything that any sensible person knows, it’s that children are not widgets to be boxed and packaged and spit out of an assembly line. It almost seems legislatures are actually trying to make it impossible for public schools to succeed.

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