Editorial, 8/25: A bitter pill, but beneficial

2013-08-24T23:59:00Z 2015-01-28T16:40:24Z Editorial, 8/25: A bitter pill, but beneficialBy the Journal Star editorial board JournalStar.com
August 24, 2013 11:59 pm  • 

Ah, those prideful days of yore, when only college-bound juniors in Lincoln took the ACT.

Locals could wrench a shoulder patting themselves on the back for scores that exceeded the national average.

Then came that fateful decision to test all juniors in the district.

Just like that the district lost its bragging rights.

Scores announced Tuesday not only put the district below the statewide average, they also put the district below the national average.

LPS officials said the district average for the graduating class of 2013 was 20.5, compared to last year's average of 22.9, the state average composite score of 21.5 and the national average of 20.9.

LPS was one of eight districts in the state that agreed to test all juniors in a three-year pilot project to help state officials decide whether the policy should be extended to cover the entire state.

Loath as the Editorial Board may be to relinquish the stature and recognition that came with above-average scores in the ACT, LPS officials make a persuasive case on why the practice of testing all juniors should continue.

Basically, the practice benefits students.

As Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of instruction, explained, when more students take the ACT, more students are exposed to the possibility of college. Most Midwest colleges accept the ACT for admission. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an ACT score of 20 qualifies a student for admission.

After getting their scores, some students who would not have even bothered to take the test scored well enough that it prompted them for the first time to think about going to college, said Leslie Lukin, director of assessment and evaluation.

The scores also helped students work with counselors to better prepare themselves for college and to qualify them for classes that would help them start building college credits.

Locals can restore a bit of self-esteem by comparing LPS scores with the nine states that test 100 percent of students. In that peer group, LPS came in third, behind Utah with 20.7 and Illinois with 20.6. Trailing LPS were Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming.

There's also solace to be taken in knowing that LPS is willing to confront reality, grim as it might be.

And it's also possible to imagine that by dint of honest assessment LPS might someday climb above the national average even with 100 percent of students taking the ACT. Now that would be a moment to savor.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

TODAY'S LETTERS

Letter, 4/2: Chambers works for state

Isn't Ernie Chambers paid by the citizens of Nebraska? How many state employees can make comments like he does and still have a job ("Chambers' remarks stir senatorial backlash," March 26)?

Letter, 4/2: Afraid of gun culture

I appreciate the thoughtful analysis of JoAnne Young's story on Omaha state Sen. Ernie Chambers comments comparing local police to ISIS ("Senator calls out Chambers for comments on police," March 26). Referencing yet another gun bill brought by the Legislature, Chambers rightfully stated tha…

Letter, 4/2: McCoy should apologize

Sen. Ernie Chambers was right not to apologize for statements made during a Judiciary Committee hearing on March 21 ("Chambers and McCoy go head to head," March 30). His statements deploring police violence against African Americans were made as a lawmaker at the seat of state government on …

Letter, 4/2: Read the transcript

Before everyone flips out, could we all take a moment to read what Sen. Ernie Chambers said ("Transcript of Ernie Chambers comments on LB635," March 25)? He’s not the one who brought ISIS into the discussion. Sen. Tommy Garrett did. Sen. Chambers did not compare police to ISIS, but he did sa…

Letter, 4/2: Keep decisions local

A recent article published in the Lincoln Journal Star, "Bill would set state standards for dairy," regarded a bill sponsored by Sen. Dan Watermeier of Syracuse. This bill would allow the state to create permitting standards and establish a governor-appointed board to review county decisions…

Letter, 4/2: McCoy's double standard

Why does Sen. Beau McCoy believe he should be the arbitrator of righteousness ("Chambers and McCoy go head to head," March 30)?

Letter, 4/2: Chambers owes apology

Remarks made by Sen. Ernie Chambers, about ISIS, law enforcement officers and guns are disgusting ("Chambers' remarks stir senatorial backlash," March 26). I feel every senator in the state of Nebraska needs to do what they can to censure these inflammatory remarks. It is enough to make one …

Letter, 4/2: Preserving freedoms

Inappropriate? Obviously. Bizarre? Undoubtedly. Mr. Chambers continues to exert the freedoms America guarantees all of her citizens ("Chambers and McCoy go head to head," March 30). Freedoms preserved by the police. It’s a wondrous country.

Letter, 4/2: Why we have term limits

Regarding Sen. Ernie Chambers' recent rant suggesting a personal jihad against local police ("Chambers' remarks stir senatorial backlash," March 26), you wonder why folks want to retain term limits?

Political letter cutoff date today

In order to run all of the letters regarding the April 7 election, the cutoff date for advocacy letters is today at 4 p.m. Email letters to oped@journalstar.com. Political letters will run through Sunday.