‘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
‘Cherry-picking’ bill desperately needed
- Slow down, save money Spring break for IU and Purdue students is next week. Local school districts will be on break the first week of April. And though drivers are accustomed to a run-up in gasoline prices just before vacation season, we all must acknowledge we likely nev
- MAUREEN HAYDEN: Prosecutors' advocate was quiet man of steel When Steve John son, longtime advocate for Indiana's county prosecutors, died unexpec tedly last week at the age of 66, I tweeted the Statehouse had lost "a quiet voice in a place of bombast." Lisa Swaim, Cass County's chief deputy prosecutor, descri
- March 11, 2014: Letters to the editor Issue rests in hands of unelected judges For years we have warned legislators and policy leaders that homosexual activists were seeking to force a new definition of marriage upon every church, school and business in Indiana. [Friday], a lawsuit [was]
- TOM LoBIANCO: Legislative summer studies often precede tough action Indiana lawma kers have only a few more days this week before they wrap up the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn't mean they're totally done for the year. A handful of top issues being debated this session are on their way to "summer study," a
- BRIAN HOWEY: Sen. Mike Delph's re-election isn't foregone conclusion Mike Delph is a Repub lican state senator from Carmel, but he is well-known to Republicans throughout the state. The evangelical conservative ran for secretary of state in 2002, losing at the Republican convention. Three years later, he won a caucus
- DICK WOLFSIE: No life without the wife If my column isn't particu larly funny this week, I have no one to blame but my wife. I have always depended on Mary Ellen to in some way annoy, befuddle, confound or mock me, thus leading me to my inevitable outburst: "That's my next column." Mary E
- March 10, 2014: Letters to the editor Is it empty promises or failing memories? An accounting of the latest Board of Commissioners meeting was headed with the fact the County Plan Commission is still one member short. This seat has been vacant for five months. Democratic Party chairwoman
- March 10, 2014: Weekly wrap Mo-ped registration good move for safety Motorized bicycles, or mo-peds, are popular among riders who want maximum fuel savings for local errands and also among those without a driver's license. But currently, there is no requirement that the riders
- DST: Worth the hassle? If you read the newspaper first thing Sunday morning and didn't set your clocks ahead one hour before bed, you're late for church. Don't be embarrassed. Dozens of area families likely will get a late start this morning. Daylight-saving time began at
- ED VASICEK: Cutting back sleep has unhealthy side effects There are certain interests we all have in common. One of them is food, a subject that excites me since I love to cook and I love to eat! But another area we have in common is sleep. Sleep is a natural function necessary to good health and solid thin
- More Opinion Headlines