Offensive letter

To the editor:

I am among thousands of parents to receive a letter from the Kansas State Department of Education, regarding USD 497 being “on improvement.” This letter is offensive. After all, when was the last time anyone from KSDE set foot in our schools?

I know firsthand what remarkable schools we have. Our teachers do remarkable work that no one-shot test, imposed from the outside, can possibly judge. Furthermore, countless extraneous variables reduce the validity of “adequate yearly progress” to “adequate yearly diddily poop” (Google that).

The entire premise of No Child Left Behind is ludicrous: all students must be “proficient” by 2014? Why not mandate our police eliminate all crime and firefighters eliminate all fires by 2014 as well? This law has nothing to do with education and everything to do with blaming and shaming public schools, eroding public confidence and setting the stage for private enterprise to profit from public funds.

The Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” pushed the path to profiteering further still. Forty-six states, already strapped for cash, played the slots at a chance for one-time dollars. Most states lost — and lost more than money. To qualify, 34 states changed laws regarding public education in ways that invite profiteering at taxpayer expense.

Those who blame and shame our public schools and accuse schools of squandering money seem to believe the solution lies in adding layers of for-profit middle management. Charter school corporations, assessment peddlers and school improvement consultants have never been happier.

What about the kids?

David Reber,