Accordingly, many students are bright-eyed, eager to please - and woe to the slouchy recalcitrants hiding in shadowy corners, for she'll engage them with questions or move them to the class front until she finds them searching for learning.
Eighth-grade Division of Correction schools average a 40 percent graduation rate, yet 80 percent of Harmon's students typically graduate. For her years of service, innumerable people touched and work in an underfunded and neglected environment, Harmon merits honors.
Douglas Scott Arey
ECI No. 130196 6D-15B
More money, less accountability
To the editor:
For the past three years, my avocation has been performing detailed analysis of school funding versus student achievement. Kirk Johnson (Heritage Foundation, senior analyst) said in The (March 3) Herald-Mail "... we must also know how the different types of spending influence the most important outcome: student achievement."
My conclusion is that the Board of Education (BOE) and the current superintendent and staff have no idea what the relationship of spending to student achievement is now, could be or might be. Consider the following:
· The BOE has no performance criteria on K-2 student achievement, either for themselves or the superintendent and her staff. Our children's educational outcomes are not reported to us, the taxpayers, until they are 8 or 9 years old, when they first take the Maryland No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandated tests. This intentional oversight is being omitted even though Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan is an early childhood reading expert, according to State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick.
· For the past five years, only three out of four students (75 percent) are proficient enough to be promoted to the next grade. This is in spite of pupil expenditures increasing 50 percent or more.
· The board, superintendent and teachers' union are content to be measured and rewarded from the standard of Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). AYP requires that only one of every two students (50 percent) be proficient in 2005 and 56 percent in 2006. In fact, it isn't until 2010 (78 percent) before the current student performance (75 percent) will meet up with the AYP goal. Spending more money every year until the two conditions intersect fits my definition of "buying a pig in a poke."
· Roughly half of the $20 million increase in next year's budget is for teachers, yet there is no measurement of student results by teacher. For all we know, the results of one teacher's shortcomings are passed on to the next grade teacher, then to the next grade and so on. Perhaps teacher association President Claude Sasse can shed light on why student performance on NCLB tests cannot be linked to an individual teacher?
· Almost $8 million has been spent on student achievement specialists. Before implementation, there were not any indicators of its usefulness. Three years later, there has not been any evaluation of its effectiveness.
These results are what President Bush meant by " the soft bigotry of low expectations." Accountability is the answer; money is not.
Killing isn't a cure
To the editor:
A recent article with a picture of Van Brooks in a wheelchair, who supports the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2005, described modern medical research. On the surface, it seemed OK, until ...