Letter to the Editor

Reader questions necessity of school mailing

Sunday, November 30, 2008

To the Editor:

I am sitting here looking at the cover letter that accompanied a mailing from the Clay Community Schools Corporation.

This mailing cost a dollar to send to me and the school corporation paid 83 cents postage on a return envelope. What a waste of money!

The cover letter states that, "all responses will be anonymous," yet also instructs people to "be sure to fill in the student identification number section."

Isn't that number assigned to a specific individual? How "anonymous" is that?

Well, my opinions are my own and do not need to be linked to a particular student nor would I subject any student to possible repercussions, however remote, by linking the student to my opinion.

I hope that any parent who fills out this "survey" thinks before they do!

As to the answers to the survey, you are given a choice between "never, sometimes, often," and "always."

Restricted to that, I would answer 95 percent of the questions with "sometimes" with the remainder being answered with "often," but the school corporation will not find out which question is answered with this not-so-anonymous survey. Most of this survey concerns one's perception of North Clay Middle School and how the people within that building relate to each other. However, some questions are targeted specifically at the sixth-grade.

To quote a Terre Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University that is dated Feb. 9, 2007, and titled, "Should Sixth-Grade be in Elementary or Middle School," "using administrative data on public school students in North Carolina, we find that sixth-grade students attending middle school are much more likely to be cited for discipline problems than those attending elementary school. That difference remains after adjusting for the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the students and their schools.

Furthermore, the higher infraction rates recorded by sixth-graders who are placed in middle school persist at least through ninth-grade. A plausible explanation is that sixth-graders are at an especially impressionable age, in middle school, the exposure to older peers and the relative freedom from supervision have deleterious consequences."

I see no reason for me to expound on the conclusions drawn by several college professors on the subject.

Should our sixth-graders be in elementary or middle school? That depends on whether or not we want more of them to succeed or we want our middle school to deal with the problems caused.

I do understand, somewhat, the problem as I have observed it first-hand with some of my relatives.

Students that went through the fifth-grade without problems are suddenly disciplinary problems at North Clay and begin to decline academically.

This is a problem that has a solution! Will the school corporation have the wisdom to do what our students need or will they find an excuse not to act in the student's best interest?

Leo L. Southworth,