Achievement not as high as it seems
A Kansas Policy Institute student-achievement awareness campaign has prompted a few people to question whether the ads are correct. The Kansas National Education Association has leveled blatantly false accusations at KPI, and a recent letter also misrepresented our work (“Ads paint biased picture of schools,” March 15 Letters to the Editor).
It’s understandable that people might think there is something wrong with the ads. Most people reasonably believe the descriptions listed in the ads – “read grade-appropriate material with full comprehension” and “usually accurate on most grade-level math tasks” – are the definitions of “meets standard” or “proficient.”
The truth is that those are the Kansas definitions of “exceeds standard.” Students do not have to read grade-appropriate material with full comprehension or usually perform all grade-level math tasks accurately to be considered proficient by state standards. We accurately reflect the percentages of 11th-grade students who perform at or above the listed performance descriptions.
Some are deliberately misrepresenting the ad content by implying that full comprehension of grade-appropriate material is the same as proficient. The KNEA and others may not want parents to know the truth, but they do students no favors by pretending achievement levels are higher.
This is not about assessing blame; educators are doing their best within the confines of the current system. It’s about taking an honest look at student achievement and deciding whether the current system is producing acceptable results or whether we should talk about ways of transforming public education so that every kid has access to an effective education.
Kansas Policy Institute
Cut Auburn Hills
If Wichita would privatize the Auburn Hills golf course or do whatever needs to be done to get it out of the city system, the rest of the golf courses would do just fine (March 19 Eagle).
Raising the rates and then expecting an annual 2 percent increase in usage of the courses is a laugh. The city is also considering doing a “marketing plan,” but just what kind of a plan would be launched? Throughout the 30-some years that I’ve been playing, I’ve not seen anything launched by the city to improve the state of its golf courses.
Auburn Hills was built to increase usage, but did that help? No. Get Auburn Hills out of the city system. It is a beautiful course, and I love playing on it, but it does not belong in the city’s system.
I was in Vietnam in 1969, part of the time in the jungle. My security man had served a number of tours and would shoot at anything – leaves falling, our guys setting up for night ambush, anything. Everybody called him “Pappy” because he had been out there for so long. Combat had really affected him.
You were required to serve only one tour, then go home. I had post-traumatic stress disorder for 14 years, and I only spent one year there.
When I first heard that our servicemen and women were being sent to Iraq for two, three and even four tours, I thought to myself, “Uh, oh.” That is way too many tours.
I am in no way condoning what that sergeant allegedly did in Afghanistan. Of course it wasn’t right. But combat does affect you.
Of course he had PTSD. How could he not after having served that many tours? Being in combat over and over and over really does affect your mind and actions.
If the government doesn’t want these tragedies to happen, it needs to cut down on the number of tours our service people have to serve. I feel like the blame should be shared.
KENT K. KEENE
Proud of WSU
What an amazing season we were able to share with the Wichita State University men’s basketball team. In each game, the Shockers played with great effort and great heart, right down to that final buzzer. We’re proud of each one of the young men who were part of that program. Go, Shockers.
Hold heads high
Wichita State University’s senior basketball players may be feeling depressed, disappointed and angry, wondering why they worked so hard for years only to face defeat and not achieve the outcome they had dreamed of.
We are WSU alumni and loyal basketball fans. We drove to New York City last year to watch WSU in the National Invitation Tournament. We drove to St. (Strange) Louis to watch the Shockers in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. One of us flew to Portland, Ore., to watch WSU in the NCAA tournament. Would we do it all again? Absolutely.
The seniors should not remember their time at WSU by their last two games. They should remember how hard they worked on and off the court and how this developed them into fine young men. They should remember what they accomplished: NIT champions, conference champions, at-large bid to NCAA tournament, positive role models, and a college degree. They should leave WSU with their heads held high. We will miss them.
JOHN and DEBBIE GUERNSEY