Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

June 21, 2013

The progress we're making

Every Howard County school district published an annual report in the June 11 edition of the Kokomo Tribune. They’re required by the Indiana Department of Education, and they’re worth a read.

The reports assembled the most recent data available on student test scores, graduation rates, school safety, teacher salaries and school expenditures.

You could find by looking at the reports that, other than Kokomo, Howard County schools are spending less per student than the state average. Spending last year ranged from $9,400 per student at Western to $10,900 per student at Taylor. Kokomo spent $13,700 per student. The state average was $11,400.

You could also learn how local schools compare in terms of teacher salaries. Local teachers stack up well on starting salaries, which ranged from $29,518 at Taylor to $32,095 at Eastern. The state’s minimum salary was $24,481.

Experienced teachers, though, didn’t fare quite so well. The maximum teacher’s salary ranged from $60,022 at Taylor to $69,474 at Kokomo, the latter salary unchanged from the previous three years. The state’s maximum teacher salary was $84,279.

The reports show that the percentage of graduates pursuing a college education ranged from 71 percent at Eastern to 89 percent at Western. Taylor has seen an 18 percent increase over the last two years. Eighty-two percent of its 2012 graduates entered college. The statewide average was 76 percent.

The reports also include the percentage of graduates earning academic honors diplomas. They ranged from 20.6 percent at Kokomo to 55.2 percent at Western. The state average was 32.3 percent.

The report will tell you average SAT scores and the percentage of students passing the graduation qualifying exam. It will show you the average class size at your child’s elementary school and how that compares to the state average.

The goal of presenting this information in a single report is to encourage students, parents and concerned residents to play a more active role in their schools.

If you haven’t already taken a look at the report, you should.

And if you don’t like what you see, you should check with your school’s principal, with the parent-teacher group or with the local school board to find out what you can do to make a difference.

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