New buildings don’t
solve test-score issues
Well, here we go again. The St. Joseph School District has trotted out their never-ending plans to close schools and build new ones. This time, the plan involves closing high schools and building fewer ones.
The reason given is low test scores. If the high school buildings were derelict, and ready to be red-tagged, the district might have a valid reason for replacing them. This is not the case. Heating and cooling systems seem to be the main building problems.
Low test scores did not happen overnight. There are many possible reasons for low test scores. Failure to master basic reading and math skills is certainly a reason. When test scores begin to slip might also provide a better understanding of the problem. Granted, a student’s grades may slip dramatically due to home life, bullying, moving to a new school, riding the bus and other factors no one but the child could tell you.
However, if classes of students’ scores begin to dip at certain stages of the curriculum, then this needs to be given serious consideration, and could be that they have not mastered key parts of their studies.
Teachers with 30 students in third, fourth and fifth grades cannot make sure that all students are reading well enough, and have basic math skills needed to go on to studies that absolutely require these skills.
Teachers also are overburdened with paperwork required by ever-growing school bureaucracy. Add to this the rampant discipline problems teachers face daily, and it is a wonder any student masters anything!
The St. Joseph School District also needs to keep in mind that students are people, not toy figures to pop into a toy yellow school bus, and be putt-putted around to a building-block school.
Wind turbines not worth the ‘benefits’
On Oct. 10, the News-Press published an article concerning Madison County, Iowa. It seems that this is another county under siege by the wind turbine developers. The article reported that their county health board had passed a resolution calling for wind turbines to sit at least 1.5 miles from homes and that the commissioners passed a 1-year moratorium to further investigate. The developers have stated that the setback is too restrictive and is about five times greater than what they have proposed.
So we have to ask ourselves, “What’s more important, the health and welfare of the community, or fattening the pockets of the developers with the tax incentives wasted on wind energy?” Some may argue that we also are getting “green” energy. This energy really isn’t “green.”
Also, when you look at the meteorological data for this area you see that a sustained wind of at least 10 mph (required for a wind turbine to operate at minimum load) only occurs about 30% of the time. So, we really aren’t getting much energy for our money. The developers don’t care about energy production; their money is made from our tax incentives.
The only other potential “benefit” is the tax money paid into the local budget. That is the only reason that the county and school officials are in favor. The truth is, our communities have done well over the years without this money and we shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and welfare of the rural areas for greed.