A flawed viewBrandon Dutcher’s "How will measure help?” (Point of View, March 15) weaves a tale of money, injustice and failing academics. Dutcher uses past ACT scores to grade Oklahoma school improvement, finding that Oklahoma results are flat. The ACT is a college entrance exam. It’s a hard reading test (except for the math section) that should show how large numbers of students taking it fall on a bell curve. In this case, reading skill is a proxy for IQ. High reading scores and IQ correlate at approximately a 93 percent rate. The ACT is a wonderful predictor of success in college. Good readers with high IQs have all the tools for success in college. To use that test as a tool for evaluating the success of the common education system is to "tool” the unschooled in testing measures, for it was never meant for that. Schools use criteria reference tests to measure how much a student has learned; such tests measure what was taught. To use other tests to measure learning, such as the ACT (which measures a skill set that correlates highly with IQ), is playing politics with the lives of children and teachers. It presents to the public a flawed view in educational measurement of learning. Christian Towles, The Village
Not comparableRegarding Brandon Dutcher’s "How will measure help?” (Point of View, March 15): The chart Dutcher employs shows the percent change in revenue per pupil and the percent change in ACT scores. Dutcher doesn’t say if the percent change is from 1990 or from the previous year. I suspect it’s the former so as to make the difference in the two percentages more dramatic. Also, Dutcher is comparing two percentages that aren’t comparable. The amount of money that can be potentially spent on education has no limit while the ACT score has a limit (a perfect score). Let’s say a student has already taken the ACT and scored a 27. This student spends twice the time studying for a second ACT test and scores a 30. The percentage change for the study time was 100 percent but the percentage change for the ACT score was only 11 percent. While that doesn’t appear to be a good tradeoff (because we’re comparing an infinite variable vs. a finite variable), that extra three points on the ACT score could mean thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Rick Miller, Oklahoma City
Ignoring a crisisThe Legislature has been dealing with several measures related to taxation lately, including removal of the sales tax on groceries. It’s time they address one of the primary albatross issues hanging over the state and that’s the huge underfunded liability of state pension funds. It isn’t going away on its own and they continue to ignore it — the way the federal government avoids our huge national debt. Some kind of funding source needs to be found or created to bring these funds back to 100 percent. Jack Dill, Blanchard
Win-win-winState House Bill 1072 would make it easier for new political parties to be recognized by the state. This goes beyond issues of free speech, challenging the status quo, letting voters hear about new and bold ideas. Adding more political parties to the Oklahoma ballot would give a huge boost to our state economy. Regular meetings of these new groups throughout the state would result in spending for meals, meeting rooms, transportation, advertising, service workers, specialty clothing and hundreds of other items such as printing, beverages, etc. Here’s an example: A group of 20 to 30 people meets regularly at a local restaurant on a slow midweek night. The restaurant bill includes sales tax, so the city profits as well. Multiply this across the state. Add in transportation (gasoline taxes), hotel and conference rooms, program printing, beverages, meals (more sales tax revenues), catering and service expenses. Supporters refer to HB 1072 as a ballot access reform bill. It should be called a jobs bill. More political parties on the ballot would mean a continuing economic boost to state revenues. The Oklahoma business community should get behind this bill now! This is a win-win-win situation: better for voters, better for business and better for Oklahoma. Richard Prawdzienski, Edmond
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