MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 14, 2014

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Reporter did not report positives

I am very disappointed with the story titled “20 percent of city third-graders fail.” The reporter clearly picked through the information she was given during an interview with Muskogee Public Schools’ Director of Elementary Education Clevetta Gray, and decided to leave out all positive information and all information needed to frame the number of special education students in context.

What the reporter failed to report is that students on Individualized Education Plans, as nearly half of our students who scored unsatisfactory on the reading tests were, must be at least two years behind in reading skills to be on an IEP to begin with. Yet they are made to take the same level of reading test as other third-graders and expected to pass by the State Department of Education.

What the reporter also failed to report is many of the remaining students who did not pass are English language learners in our district — many students who have only been learning English for one or two years, or even less.

And finally, perhaps our greatest disappointment with the story, is that the reporter failed to say that Gray praised the district’s third-grade teachers for the great strides they and their students had made since reading assessments at the beginning of the school year. Our teachers deserve to hear about what a great job they have done. At the beginning of the school year, nearly 50 percent of the third-graders in the district could not pass the third-grade practice reading exams, which means nearly 30 percent of our students made huge strides in their reading levels this school year.

WENDY BURTON

Muskogee Public Schools

Public Relations

Coordinator

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