The District VIII superintendents recently constructed a letter that expresses our concern with the testing process in Indiana. This letter went to legislators, newspapers, and the State Board of Education. We have very strong opinions concerning the ISTEP test, testing being used to grade teachers, testing being used to grade schools, and the tying of teachers’ salaries to test scores. The Superintendents agree that there must be assessment of students but the results of these test scores must take into account the ZIP code of students. Poverty is the greatest indicator of student success and as we know living in poverty is not a positive factor. Money does matter, it matters to the school district and it matters to the student. Those students that need resources the most often find themselves in districts that are severely underfunded.
When we look at Greensburg Schools we see a district that is at the median level of tax rates and dollars per student spent compared to other Indiana school districts. Our poverty level is not unlike most rural Indiana districts, it hovers around 50%. We use as many of our resources as feasible at the elementary level to remediate our youngest students to get them off to the best academic start possible. By front loading programs to ensure reading levels and math skills are at appropriate grade levels we hope to greatly increase future success rates of students. These academic programs really matter in determining futures successes of our students but other educational experiences also are important. School districts have very limited resources and every learning opportunity provided to student costs money. I hope that we can continue to sustain the robust learning environment that our community and students are accustomed to experiencing. I believe these are more important than a standardized test. Essential to student learning and growth are programs like music, art, physical education, athletics, and drama. These help provide a well -rounded learning experience for students. Take the opportunity to attend one of our extra-curricular activities and see how our students excel and you will quickly understand why these programs are so important. I hope as this caustic political season comes to an end those in charge will come to the realization that public education funding must provide the resources necessary to keep these programs operational because they are necessary to produce the graduate we want to see. I ask our patrons to support public education in all ways you see fit because our futures depend on effective public schools. Thanks for the great support we have in Greensburg for our public schools. We will do everything we can to continue earning your trust.
Tom Hunter, Superintendent