To the editor:
Mr. Morgan would like to introduce Santa Claus into our schools. It seems Mr. Morgan believes students will benefit from this addition. As with any proposed school reform, we should test this hypothesis before implementing it. I suggest the following:
1) Santa generally enters public consciousness during a specific time of year Christmastime. Christmastime, however, is filled with excitement, some of which is unrelated to Santa. In order to determine if student performance is affected by Santa or merely by Christmas, we should schedule appearances of Santa in August, October, March and May.
2) We should determine if it is Santa or merely novelty from which students benefit. Let's place a permanent Santa in several classrooms, at all grade levels, throughout the district. Test scores from each "Santa Class" can be compared with Santa-free classes.
3) Not all students are Christian, so not all students have the skills to properly use a school Santa. We should select a set of students from all backgrounds, place a full-time Santa with half, and track their progress. We can then compare the performance of students in a Santa-rich environment with their Santa-poor peers. We may need some paraprofessionals Santa's helpers to assist children who don't have the necessary Santa skills.
4) Since this hasn't been tried before, and since Santa is everywhere only on Christmas Eve, we should develop a rigorous training program to ensure we have the highest quality Santas in our schools.
Appropriate controls must be implemented some students will not benefit from Santa.
This is an unfortunate but necessary condition if we are to advance education in USD 497. Let me be the first to volunteer my son for the control group.