To the editor:
Saturday morning I attended the “Eggs and Issues” breakfast sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid was one of several lawmakers present. In response to a question, Mr. Siegfreid stated that “only 36 percent” of students in fourth grade across Kansas “read at grade level.” He went on to say that scores had been in decline since “sometime in the ’70s.” “Something must be done,” he said.
Yes, Rep. Siegfreid, something must be done, and a good place to start would be having our elected officials speak the truth rather than be a source of misinformation. According to the Kansas Department of Education, “Results from the 2010 Kansas statewide assessments show a 10-year growth trend in reading and mathematics statewide. Students performing in the top three performance levels on the reading assessment increased to 86.3 percent in 2010, up from 85.7 percent in 2009.” State data indicates that 86.8 percent of fourth-graders met or exceeded the Kansas reading standards last year.
Rep. Siegfreid is off by 50.2 percent. It is not true that only 36 percent of Kansas fourth-graders read at grade level. The facts are that 86.8 percent of fourth-graders read at grade level. I find it outrageous and offensive for an elected official to falsely portray our Kansas public schools as failing. Perhaps he fears voucher proposals have little meaning if the alternative to private schooling in an excellent public education.