Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

February 26, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Feb. 26, 2013

 ‘Cherry-picking’ bill desperately needed

Over the past year, I have watched in amazement as a number of stakeholders from a certain school district in Howard County have written letters to the editor that have appeared in the Kokomo Tribune. All have the same message: They oppose Rep. Mike Karickhoff’s “cherry-picking” bill that would prevent public schools from choosing their transfer students.

The resistance to this bill by so many people connected to a school district that is, in fact, carefully choosing its transfer students amazes me because it actually indicates a lack of confidence in their school. After all, if their teachers and school are so great, then why are they afraid to admit certain students? Could it be that the school itself is not so superior, but that their high standardized test scores and self-perceived superior school climate are a direct result of the socioeconomic status of the students who attend that school? And, in order to retain this mask of superiority, they are working hard to keep their student body as homogeneous as possible?

It could be that this school system and others like it are indirectly admitting what every teacher in a high-poverty, urban school already knows: It’s a whole lot easier to be a “top performing” school when the vast majority of students in that school come from middle-class homes.

Study after study indicates that the No. 1 predictor of a student’s success on standardized tests is not the student’s teacher or school. It is the student’s socioeconomic status. As Donald Orlich claimed in a recent study at Washington State University, students from middle-class homes outscore their poverty-stricken peers by as much as 60 percent on standardized tests.

The results of this study are nothing new, though. Paul Thomas of the New York Times argues in his article “Avoiding the Poverty Issue” that we have “decades of evidence that test scores reflect more significantly the lives of children than the quality of teachers or schools.”

It follows, then, that schools choosing their transfer students based on test scores, parent interviews, attendance and behavior records from a previous school, or any other factor that influences academic achievement, is a form of socioeconomic segregation. If this segregation is allowed to continue, it could have devastating consequences for our community.

We all live in this community together. We are all human beings, woven together in a beautifully diverse tapestry. Some of us can try to erect walls around our middle-class schools and pretend that the poverty in this community is not our problem, but that won’t make it go away.

Siphoning off resources from urban schools by picking off their best, most advantaged students is immoral because it ultimately hurts the poorest of the poor, those who lack the power and the resources to speak out for themselves. It also undermines one of the core values of our nation — that all children, regardless of race or ethnicity or socioeconomic status, deserve access to a quality education. It is this value that has made our country great.

I applaud Rep. Mike Karickhoff for standing up for our most disadvantaged students and their schools by pushing the “cherry-picking” bill through the Indiana House. And I thank the public educators in our community who have dedicated their lives to helping ALL children succeed.

Amy McCauley, Kokomo

        For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • A great way to offer help The United Way of Howard County does so much for this community that it would be difficult, in this space, to describe even a fraction of the things United Way donations accomplish.Think what Kokomo and Howard County would lose if there were no Court

    July 25, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LETTERS: Mast homestead celebrates 150 years Mast homestead celebrates 150 yearsThe two-story frame, Pennsylvania-Dutch style house on the Larry and Barbara Hensler farm 2 miles west of Plevna is 150 years old this year. In fact it may even be a little older than that. Lloyd Hensler used to say

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • Road must be made safer Eight months ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation opened the new U.S. 31 bypass east of Kokomo. Joining Mayor Greg Goodnight was Gov. Mike Pence. Even the Kokomo High School marching band performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the

    July 24, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • LETTERS: Christians must stand with Israel 'As Christians we must stand with life' The present conflict in Israel is with Hamas, recognized even in Egypt as a terrorist organization. Recently Hamas formed a unity government with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. They're now the government in

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

  • Keep eye out for kids

    With most local schools welcoming students in a couple of weeks — and Kokomo schools beginning class Aug. 5 (yes, a week from this coming Tuesday) — it’s important for motorists to think about safe driving as children travel to and from school.Law en

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll