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Letters to the Editor

SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2010

Dropout link unproven

A recent article mentioned an upcoming push for a $5 million annual levy to fund the “Children’s Investment Fund.” Supporters claim this fund “could improve Spokane’s graduation rate” by up to 20 percent. This claim is based on the presumption that Spokane’s 40 percent dropout rate is due to problems in early childhood learning, abuse/neglect, lack of mentoring and insufficient extracurricular activities.

How? The article provides no statistics, data or logical argumentation.

Asked about our dropout rate at a Feb. 20 town hall meeting, Spokane Superintendent Nancy Stowell speculated without proof that the 40 percent figure might be incorrect, implausibly connected dropout rates with improved learning standards and discussed the need for intervention. Then she sat down. (That’s her $175,500/year answer, folks.) Other attendees blamed parents, students, social issues and funding.

Meanwhile, students suffer with a long list of weak curricula and supplementary materials; constant “discovery” learning (where they’re supposed to teach themselves) and days cluttered with nonacademic activities. For years, teachers haven’t been allowed to teach enough arithmetic or algebra. Some parents are told that phonics “don’t work.”

Reject the levy and the excuses. Schools need clutter-free days, better curricula and freedom for teachers to directly teach necessary material.

Laurie H. Rogers


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