Comment history

Governor sets sights on boosting reading

The sky is falling, the sky is falling…
Pundits like Mr. Trabert would have you believe the Kansas public schools are failing. While we all want our children to achieve more in order to successfully participate in our ever more demanding society, I have found that most Kansas parents and communities share a well-founded sense of pride in their neighborhood schools.
Mr. Trabert’s diagnosis is inappropriate and his flawed argument leads to an erroneous conclusion. Consider a medical analogy. Do we want all our children to be as fit as competitive athletes – running 4 minute miles? This achievement would be welcome. Yet, no competent doctor would declare an individual to be ‘healthy’ based solely on cardio-vascular capacity. Why does Mr. Trabert insist on labeling all our other children who run a 10 minute mile as unhealthy? Further, on what basis does he conclude that the ‘nutrition’ (aka operational budget) our children received was overly abundant, when he ignores all but one tangentially related indicator of health or fails to account for the pace each child could run a year ago or whether that child can even walk? The NAEP 4th grade reading scores he continually cites do not assess the same students from year to year, do not take into account whether students have reading problems or whether students started the year reading below grade level, nor is NAEP designed to test students’ depth of understanding on the standards we determined as most important for Kansas students to learn.
Kansas ranks in the top 10 states in reading and math on NAEP assessments. Kansas student proficiencies on state assessments in reading and math have increased 40% over the past decade and exceed 80% at every grade level. Comparing similar systems and students, Kansas public schools do better or as well than private schools in Kansas and nationally. Kansas scores for college-bound students rank in the top 10 of all states and have improved over the past 15 years. I for one will continue to expect our elected officials to invest in our public schools and will work with our public schools as we raise the bar of expectations and hope for our children’s future.

January 8, 2013 at 6:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )