Letter: In writing about test scores, columnist comes up short

February 13, 2014 

Mr. Jenkins supplied statistics comparing Alaska students’ test scores to the country’s (Column, Feb. 9). One is reminded of the quote, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” His numbers lumped all of Alaska’s districts together. Are any districts faring well? If so, why do we need an all-encompassing change to our celebrated constitution?

He supplies no analysis of why some Alaska districts/students do better than others. So changing the constitution might not raise a single test score.

Maine and New Hampshire were presented as states where state funds are available for use by parochial schools. Does this improve student outcomes there? Are the income levels and demographics the same in those states as they are here? Might it matter? Mr. Jenkins doesn’t say.

The primary goal of business is to make profits. That can be done by cutting costs and acquiring tax breaks as well as by selling more product. Will private schools stretch rules to dodge taxes? Will they use viable structures, suitable educational materials and qualified personnel? Who will ensure that they do? What will it cost?

— Mark Lovegreen

Anchorage

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