Letters to the Editor

School board member’s right

Bill Burnett alleges in a recent letter that PeterHunt, Oak Harbor School Board member, is playing politics with numbers. Citing a set of statistics from the Scholastic Apptitude Tests, Mr. Burnett challenges anyone to dispute his conclusion that Mr. Hunt is playing with numbers.

Well, a challenge offered is a challenge accepted! Mr. Burnett is wrong, Mr. Hunt is correct when he states that the SAT results for Washington student test scores lead the nation in states where at least 50 percent of seniors graduating take the SAT test.

Using the citation provided by Mr.Burnett, it is indisputable that the Washington statewide results are better than any of the other states where at least 50 percent of graduating seniors take the tests.

The Washington mean for the tests is 521.34 (2009-2010). None of the other  22 states meeting the 50 percent requirement equals or beats Washington, although a couple come close.

Hence, using Mr. Burnett’s own citation from the Digest of Education Statistics, “SAT Mean Scores of College-Bound Seniors and Percentage of Seniors Taking SAT,” Mr. Hunt’s claim is perfectly vindicated, Mr. Burnett’s objections notwithstanding. Yes, Mr. Burnett, Mr. Hunt is elected -- that is what democracies do, leave it to the pesky voters.

There are other mistakes and wrong answers in what Mr.Burnett alleges. For example the SAT is not given to 11th and 12th graders, it is taken and paid for by the student and may include people in lower grades or much older. It is taken by those who wish to enter higher education at colleges that require the SAT.

Unfortunately, neither Mr. Hunt nor anyone else can answer some of the questions posed by Mr.Burnett as the answers are not available. The school district does not manage the tests, they are a private matter between the student and the testing organization; statistics available are integrations made by the test suppliers.

One wishes that Mr. Burnett might be a tad more constructive in his comments about Oak Harbor schools and education efforts. He is heavy on critiques but most light on positive suggestion.

S.M. Harris
Oak Harbor


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