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
  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • Schools need kids' parents For school-age children in southern Miami County — and their parents — this is a seminal week. Classes start at Maconaquah schools on Friday.School starts for the rest of the Kokomo area next week.Before your children head back to school, ensure they

    July 29, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • LETTERS: No excuse letting trimmings rot at curb No excuse for letting trimmings rot at curbWe live in a recently annexed, east-side subdivision — a nice, clean, well-kept subdivision where almost all homeowners take pride in and maintain their homes and lawns.Before the annexation, we paid for our

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • LETTERS: Parents taking fun out of youth sports Parents taking fun out of youth sports I enjoyed reading the article, "Nation's youth sports leagues on troubling decline," by Bill Stanczykiewicz, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, and the last paragraph, a quote by Dr. Bill Dexter, president of t

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • WEEKLY WRAP: Legal marriages should be honored Legal marriages should be honoredAn eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.The couple has properly obtained a marria

    July 28, 2014

  • Right-to-work unnecessary It has been a crime for Indiana employers to enter into labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues since Feb. 1, 2012 — the day then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation making the Hoosier State a “right-to-work” state.Whether Indiana ke

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
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