Let’s quit teaching to test our students

I read an interesting article in Parenting magazine, “The less-homework revolution; fed-up parents are changing the way schools think – and you can, too,” by Nancy Kalish. I decided to ask some local parents if they believed their children had too much homework. It was a definite yes.

Granted, it is not a scientific survey. However, what I have seen is definitely an increase to push kids more and more to the point of breaking for some kids.

When I hear more and more kids say they hate school, from kids that used to like school, it should be a concern. The dropout rate continues to rise, so it appears to me we are doing something wrong in the best interest of our children and grandchildren.

As the article points out, homework is not what it is cracked up to be. In one school the principal decided to do an experiment and eliminated most homework except for the occasional studying for a test. The results so far show that there were no backslides, kids enjoy school again, and the stress level has diminished.

I would ask when do we start to value family time again? Kids should be allowed to be kids. They will have to grow up fast enough.

I understand that kids learn and retain things better at a younger age, however, if they hate school and the process, we are going to lose and they will end up a statistic in the dropout group.

Also, as the article points out, many kids have been glued to their desk for seven hours, especially at schools that have cut gym, recess, art and music to cram more instructional time. If you add two hours of homework each night, these children are working a 45-hour week.

Of course, this is my opinion and some might not agree, however, I believe that we have turned our focus away from educating kids to testing kids so the money continues to flow. Parents should go to their schools, school board meetings, write their congressman and senators and voice their concerns.

I would invite you to read the article and find some other studies that show we need to get our focus back on educating kids on an individual basis and not a one-size-fits-all. Quit spending money on excessive testing and use it to hire new teachers and provide smaller class sizes.

Finally, to all the dedicated teachers, this is not about you but about a system that I believe is failing our children. To access this article, you can go to parenting.com.

John L. Walker


Kokomo offers fine hospitality

My name is Bucky Culbertson, and I am a police officer from Norton, Va. Recently, a family member made me aware of an article that you had published about K-Lynn Kennels on Nov. 9, 2008. This family member, Joe Culbertson, is also a veteran officer for Kokomo Police Department.

My department was in need of a K-9 unit, and due to budget cuts was unable to accomplish this goal. Joe Culbertson then proceeded to gather contact information so that I could speak with them.

When I called, I spoke with Carla Norton, the owner of K-Lynn Kennels, and she was very helpful. She said that she would be willing to help us out even though we were 425 miles away. I then proceeded to get approval for the dog, and within a matter of weeks was making arrangements to pick up a dog.

Mrs. Norton said she had a dog in mind, and I could come as soon as possible. During this time, she spent three days going over training techniques and teaching me how to bond with the dog. She donated equipment and food to last us the entire time. All of which was furnished by her business.

Through the generosity of K-Lynn Kennels, I was able to bring home two Belgian Malinois for my department. Without their kindness this would not have been possible for a small town to have. We now can protect our officers and our community to the best of our ability. My fellow officers and I would like to thank her for her kindness and willingness to donate so much.

Several officers from surrounding areas came to join in on my training. Their names are Erin Dean of Sheridan PD, Coy Monroe of Sheridan PD and Rodney Williams of Greentown PD. Thank you to all of these people for spending hours donating your time and effort to assist a fellow officer that did not pertain to any of your departments.

During my time in Kokomo, I stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott, located at 411 Kentucky Drive. My accommodations were very nice and they too joined efforts for this to happen. They were kind enough to donate discounted rates and allowed the K-9 units to be in the rooms with us on our stay. I would like to thank Lisa King, guest services manager, and Rick Ogg, general manager, for their help.

This was my first visit to Kokomo, and I was very impressed by the generosity of the businesses and people in your community. These people have added to your community in a positive way and should be recognized for their efforts to make it an enjoyable place to be. Thanks again to all those involved.

Bucky Culbertson

Norton, Va.

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