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Letter to the Editor


Call for new blood on Clarkston Board of Education



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October 03, 2012 - Dear Editor,

I am very concerned about the direction of the Clarkston Schools. The board president seems to be very focused on doing a board self-evaluation. I'm not sure any more time needs to be spent on that. Just go look at the Michigan School Data website (www.mischooldata.org) and you will have your answer.

Many of our ratings, according to the state, are slipping. Our percentage of high school students proficient on the Michigan Merit Exam and the ACT College Readiness tests have decreased. Clarkston High School did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and received a grade of a C from the Department of Education. Two elementary schools and SMS are now designated as Focus Schools, which is a negative designation, and another elementary school also did not make AYP.

Our overall Math and Reading Proficiency for grades 3-8 has also decreased. With those results, we don't need to spend any more time evaluating the board. It is clear you are not doing your job which is to ensure student achievement is increasing. We see the MEAP scores once a year and we want to pat ourselves on the back and think we are doing great.

One data point does not make a straight line. Other than the MEAP scores, do we really see any data? Are we really evaluating our programs to see how well they are working? When was the last time we heard any kind of student achievement discussion. Instead, we regularly hear about spending money on new programs like Middle College, Spanish, etc.

How about spending money on something we know increases student achievement like lower class sizes? We are continuing to add new programs that cost money which adds to our deficit then we increase class sizes and make cuts to student services. This cycle doesn't make any sense and is obviously not good for our kids.

There are three board members who seem to be concerned about this direction and there are four board members who seem to be happy with the status quo. I for one am not happy with the status quo. Every conversation should be about increasing student achievement and living within the school district budget. For that reason, I'm voting for Sue Boatman, Joan Patterson and Betty Reilly for Clarkston School Board on Nov. 6, and I hope you will too.

Pamela Koczak

Independence Township

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