Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 23, 2012

Letters to the editor - Friday, Nov. 23, 2012

Kokomo — IREAD-3 test does nothing to help kids

As an educator for 23 years, with many of those years being in a third-grade classroom, I welcome the opportunity to respond to a recent letter regarding the IREAD-3 testing.

I completely agree that retaining third-grade students who cannot read at a third-grade level is not a bad thing. I will even say that I felt that the IREAD-3 test was a very valid assessment for identifying those students who have not mastered third-grade reading skills. That is where my agreement with IREAD-3 ends. This is why.

In October 2011, the state Department of Education released a document which stated that students who did not pass the IREAD-3 test would not be promoted to fourth grade. This document was distributed to third-grade parents. In late February or early March, the state retracted this statement. Officials said that retention would be the decision of school corporations and schools, not performance on the test.

In actuality, that means that the decision will be made by parents.

Parents have the final say in retention, and in most cases, even if there is data and documentation to support that a child has not mastered the skills to move on, parents do not support retention. What this means is many third-grade students did not pass IREAD-3, but were promoted to fourth grade anyway. The state “classifies” these students as third-graders, meaning that they receive third-grade reading instruction within a fourth-grade classroom, and they will take the third-grade ISTEP in the spring.

So what happens if they don’t pass the third-grade ISTEP in fourth grade? They go on to fifth grade where they are “classified” as fifth-graders. How does this plan help students?

The initial idea of developing an assessment to make sure students are reading on level before moving on was a good one. However, the money and time spent to develop, administer and score these assessments is wasteful if there is no follow-through with the original idea.

In the end, this plan did nothing to help Indiana students. Nothing changed except that more instruction time is lost in order to administer yet another test. So, as an educator, I support Mrs. Ritz’s decision to eliminate this test.

Margaret Brown, Kokomo

Next 4 years will devastate nation

I have three issues to respond to today.

First, I am sick and tired of reading about how the Republican Congress has been unwilling to negotiate with the Democrats. It has been proven time and again that compromise from the standpoint of President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is out of the question.

Their idea of compromise is for the Republican representatives to cave in to ALL of their demands.

Harry Reid will not even bring to the floor of the Senate the various budget proposals that have been presented to the Senate by the House. They get tabled. Yet Obama’s budgets have been obliterated by the Senate with no votes for them.

It is the Democrats who are the obstructionists in this argument.

Obama is saying it is his way or no way when it comes to taxes. He has not presented a passable budget in four years. We are on the precipice of a financial cliff come January, and the administration and the liberal press are putting all the responsibility upon the Republican House.

Where is the responsibility of the president and Harry Reid on this issue? I believe they would like to see us go over the cliff so they can continue blaming the Republicans.

Second, this administration’s cover-up of Benghazi is a disgrace. This administration is the most corrupt that this country has ever witnessed. I can’t believe that more than 50 percent of the people were willing to give it another four years.

This administration has lied to the American people time and time again, and we have been too ignorant to realize it. Watergate brought down a president when it was just an illegal burglary and no lives lost. Benghazi cost the lives of four Americans including our ambassador, yet the Democrats have circled their wagons to shelter those responsible for the fiasco.

The next four years are going to be devastating to our nation, and I don’t believe God is going to be there to help us the next time around.

Third, the destruction of more than 50 million unborn babies and our ignorance of so-called gay rights are fast spiraling our country into the abyss. How can God be for America today? Granted, there is a remnant of Christians still living in our nation today, but basically, a majority of our people are living like atheists. They claim to have faith, but do not live their claim.

How can anyone support a political party that is dead set on destroying the lives of the unborn? How can one claiming to be Christian support such barbarism?

Melvin E. Armstrong, Galveston