Editorial, 8/29: No longer in Lake Woebegon

2012-08-28T23:59:00Z 2015-02-03T09:54:54Z Editorial, 8/29: No longer in Lake Woebegon JournalStar.com
August 28, 2012 11:59 pm

The practice of praising students no matter how they do on their tests has faded away now that the self-esteem movement has become passé.

So there should be no glossing over the score that Lincoln Public School students posted on the statewide science test.

It was bad.

Only 62 percent of LPS students met the standard. And here are words that never were heard in the days when Nebraska used the old Lake Woebegon system: LPS students were below average.

In fact, they were a noticeable 5 points below the state average of 67 percent.

But there’s hope.

The situation is somewhat analogous to a student taking his or her first test after moving to a new school. Even a no-excuses-type parent probably will cut a student some slack on the first test.

This was the first time the statewide science test was administered. If scores follow the same trend as the scores in reading and math, improvement will follow.

The state moved to a new testing system starting in 2010 that allows school districts to be compared to each other. The first test was in reading. Only 68.6 percent of students met the standard. The next year, 71.8 percent met the standard. This year the percentage rose to 74.2.

So far, math has followed the same pattern. Last year the percentage of students who were deemed proficient was a dismal 62.8 percent. This year the percentage rose to 67.4 percent.

More heartening news came when scores on the ACT college preparatory exam were announced. Nebraska students who took the exam posted an average of 22, compared with the national average of 21.1 LPS students scored even higher at 22.9.

Scores on the ACT test are justifiably used as a benchmark for comparing how schools in Nebraska are doing compared to other states. In Nebraska, 78 percent of students took the ACT test, outperforming students in 18 other states where at least 75 percent of students took the test.

In his annual back-to-school meeting with the Journal Star editorial board, LPS Superintendent Steve Joel noted the low science test scores and promised flatly that they would be higher next time.

We take him at his word.

We don’t want to go back to the old system in which school districts made up their own tests, but we don’t want to see LPS scoring below average either. Improvement is expected.

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


Letter, 5/28: Nebraska must honor Native Americans

On May 14 and 15, the Center for Great Plains Studies hosted their 41st Symposium in collaboration with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs. For the first time, the Symposium focused exclusively on Native Americans and brought together an incredible array of national Native talent. New…

Letter, 5/28: Pork bill kills independent farms

The Nebraska Legislature will soon consider LB 176, which will allow pork packers and processors to own hogs and contract with someone to grow them ("Opponents say pig packer bill a win for corporate ag," May 26). If this bill passes, it will be the end of the independent hog farmer in our state.

Letter, 5/28: Time for change in LFR

Mayor Beutler will once again appoint a department head ("Huff to retire as fire chief," May 19). We don't need another clone to blindly follow. Lincoln Fire and Rescue has major problems and needs strong leadership. The 10-headed monster needs to have a complete audit with a tax budgeted ag…

Letter, 5/28: On Osteen and choices

Joel Osteen is coming to Lincoln ("Joel Osteen brings 'Night of Hope' to Pinnacle Bank Arena," May 15). He is successful. People like him. He preaches how to relate to each other. His Houston church is one of the largest in America. He fills the pews and coffers every Sunday.