To the editor:
My wife and I greatly enjoyed talking to folks we found at home during my recent campaign for the Board of Education. I am most grateful to those that voted for me. I would guess they are people I talked with who know that I am only concerned with academic excellence for all children.
I know the best hope for success in the adult world for any young person who graduates from the Harrison County School System is to acquire a quality education. These young people have to be able to compete in the world, and I heard too many testimonies of that not being the case; being able to compete in the present world community has never been more demanding. I do not intend to back off from this commitment to the youth of this County. We have spent money for steak but received lunch meat results.
My opponent promised you a trip to the ‘promised land’ in three years (top ten per cent of school districts in Kentucky). This is an admirable goal that anyone should enthusiastically support; however, I find it difficult to believe that those districts currently ranked higher will all slow their progress.
Realistically, I question whether that much progress can be made in three years. At the outset, we should know where we are now as we have not previously been told.
Harrison County ranks 99th out of 174 public school districts on Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) scores in Kentucky. Broken down, the rankings of our individual schools are as follows: Northside 284 of 731 elementary schools; Eastside 324 of 731; Westside 430 of 731; Southside 489 of 731; Harrison County Middle School 98 of 226 middle schools and Harrison County High School 151 of 217 high schools. These results represent a combined score for the two year index of 2007 and 2008. CATS is designed to judge schools, not individual students. An additional sorting of high school CATS scores for 2008 only, highest to lowest, shows HCHS 171 of 223 secondary schools.
The American College Test (ACT) which is scored from one to 36 is also an excellent predictor of post secondary education success. Last spring, this test was administered for the first time to all public school juniors as a part of the state mandated testing program. The statewide average score was 18.3 and HCHS had a composite score of 17.6. It should be pointed out that our state is below the national average. All of these results were posted by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Statewide, there are a few critics who believe some schools will not reach proficiency (score of 100) by the final judgment year of 2014. In fact, some people dare to think that as 2014 nears, some kind of exception will magically appear - that would be an awful mistake.
No objective person can be satisfied with the status quo. In Harrison County, my greatest concern is the high school results. What happens to these students inadequately prepared who leave our high school? Once these students leave, we do not have another chance for remediation. No one should be tolerant of mediocrity at any level in our school system.