Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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.

Look at private schools; why are they now able to receive funding from state coffers, yet they can pick their students? How does giving tax credit to people who make more than $100,000 a year help the poor and the special needs children? How many special education students are being serviced in private schools? How many Peytons and Peles were picked by private schools? Not only do private schools get state funding and get to choose their students, they don’t even have to meet the same requirements public schools must meet. 

Public schools are still the “choice” most families make. If you and your children have invested in a school corporation to make it your community, fight this. Public schools are only asking for a level-playing field, some fair officials, and some good sportsmanship in the education arena — not sour grapes.

Tica Rogers, Northwestern teacher

Home values fall, taxes stay the same

Thanks, Mike Baden. Your letter tells more like it is.

I have lived in Prairie Township since 1966. I can’t imagine 94 wind turbines in this small area.

Other people in Tipton County need to realize they will be next. These turbines will benefit only the farmers.

What hasn’t been said is no one in this area will get any electricity from these wind turbines. It goes elsewhere! Our roadways will be bad. There won’t be any good roads while they are working to build the giants.

There are a lot of negatives the wind companies are not telling the public. Meanwhile, our property values go down and our taxes stay the same.

Glenesta Arnett, Russiaville