Letter to the Editor

Your view: Questions on testing

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Re: Federal encroachments on local boards of education

I will begin by stating that all commercial prepping and school prepping for state and national programs should be illegal. Since it would be virtually impossible to enforce, forget it. It's a shame that elementary and middle school teachers have so much pressure exerted on them from the state that many of them can no longer relax and help their students to develop a love for learning and that school's a joy, as it should be.

If the federal bureaucrats intend to use the threat of withdrawal of Title I funds when our fourth grade teachers fail two consecutive years, according to someone's preconceived idea of where our local students should be scoring on a test, then nationwide schools need to refuse Title I monies and work on legislators to return these funds to local schools as they all give lip service to local control.

The federal government should be required to publish in our local paper the exact criteria used and explain the testing process in detail for our taxpayers. Did they, for instance, take little "Jane Doe's" score last year in language arts and compare it with this year? Did they average the gain or loss for the whole class for the academic year? We did this in the Puxico schools in the early 1960s and teachers kept the results.

Earnie Elledge published yearly test results in the paper and the school has given the Standardized Achievement Tests (as we also did at Puxico) in all courses, English, history, etc.

If the classes' composite scores were used to judge our fourth grade teachers at Morehouse, those teachers should immediately receive an apology unless the average IQs for these two years are also considered. These teachers may have actually far exceeded what could be expected from these classes.

Thad Ryan