Letter to the Editor

Reader points out errors in information

Sunday, June 22, 2008

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Kathy Knust, Clay Community School Corporation Curriculum Coordinator, for her response to my recent Letter to the Editor of The Brazil Times concerning curriculum within the corporation, specifically, the French IV and Dance classes.

I can appreciate that coordinating classes for that many students is a large and demanding task, so I thank you for the time you expended on this matter.

First, I must admit to an error. I stated that these classes were taught this year, the 2007-08 school year. On rechecking my source, I find that the classes in question were actually held during the 2006-07 school year. I am sorry, Ms. Knust, but I sent you on a wild goose chase through the wrong data.

The reference that I took this data from is the chart entitled Curriculum (DOE-CE/CP Oct. 1, 2006), located at http://mustang.doe.state.in.us/TRENDS/schlprofile.cfm?schl=0933, specifically the lines for Dance Performance, Ballet, Modern, Ethnic-Folk and French IV. As a taxpayer, I must still be concerned about the usage of school funding to teach these classes in whatever school year that it occurred.

We cannot change the past. We can only affect the future.

As this information is on an Indiana Department of Education website, is it, in fact, an erroneous report submitted by the school corporation or were these classes taught to students at the cost per student listed? How did it come to be on an Indiana Department of Education website?

I am having a problem with the math concerning the statement that teachers sometimes volunteer to teach higher-level classes and what the table indicates. I do not understand how these two classes could be taught without expense yet be reported as having cost over $20,000 to the State of Indiana Dept. of Education. That would make it very difficult to account for funds. Who is watching our curriculum and budget? Twenty thousand dollars may seem like a paltry sum given the entire school corporation budget, but wasted or unaccounted for money is a problem.

As a former Teamster and union shop steward, I am appalled that we are asking teachers to volunteer to teach classes without just compensation for the work, especially when those classes are not crucial toward earning one of our diplomas or sought by a number of students that would make them cost-effective. If we are going to ask for volunteers, why not channel every effort into helping those who are in danger of failing to graduate with their peers?

It appears to me that we are catering to the "well-bred, well-fed, and well-read" that qualify academically to participate in extra-curricular activities and can afford to do so while neglecting the education of struggling students who cannot succeed in graduating with our lowest academic diploma.

We are "carrying coal to the coalmine while the fires go out at the house."

It is time to focus on educating the maximum number of students to the minimum required by the state to get an diploma.

Leo L. Southworth,