December 2015 News

Letter to the Greensburg School Community:

As the superintendent of Greensburg Community Schools many of you know I have been very vocal as to the political decisions that have been made in recent years that have adversely affected our Indiana public schools.   I want to express my concerns about the results of the 2014-2015 ISTEP data released to schools last week.  As a thirty plus year veteran teacher/administrator in Greensburg Schools I have grave concerns  as to  how these questionable, at best, test results will be used to evaluate the education our schools provide to the students of Greensburg.  As our parents and community members know, our schools provide the curricular framework that prepares students for not only college but the other post -secondary opportunities that our students need to be successful in today’s competitive workforce.

Our test scores, as predicted by the Department of Education, show a significant drop from year 2013-2014 ISTEP in all tested subjects and at all tested grade levels. Did this test accurately measure the students’ ability and their mastery of the Indiana Standards?   I believe, along with most school administrators in Indiana, that changes in the test structure along with arbitrarily set cut scores are producing the significant drops in normal pass rates.  The testing process itself was chaos in many cases because of computer usage error and student unfamiliarity with the computer applications necessary to complete the questions on the test.    Students often became frustrated and didn’t finish their test with fidelity.  Did the students fail the test or did our Legislators and Department of Education fail our students?

Questions that arise from this debacle include:

  1. Was this process worth the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars it cost?  Could this money have been spent better on student needs?

  2. When will we receive the needed data concerning areas students failed so we can help them on this year’s test in 3 months?  Remediation time is reduced immensely.

  3. How is this questionable assessment and labeling of schools with letter grades going to impact the perception of Indiana communities and the education we provide our students?

  4. Is this going to negatively affect the number of students choosing education as a career?  A problem we already are seeing in Indiana?

I do believe the following:

  1. These test scores do not reflect our student’s yearly achievement.

  2. These test scores do not reflect the great job our teachers do each day in the classroom.

  3. These test scores should not be used to give a letter grade to our schools or our school district.

  4. Our Legislators and Department of Education need to re-evaluate what impact this negative political stance is having on public education.

  5. Public education is being destroyed by one standardized test after another and engineered by people that don't fully understand the ramifications that these test and results are placing on our students and community at large.  It is time for our Indiana politicians to set aside other political agendas and start putting our children and their education first. 

Tom Hunter, Superintendent
Greensburg Schools