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Schools don't fail, policies do

In response to your editorial on The Star Gap (“Maryland's school rankings tell us what we already know — your education depends on where you live,” Dec. 4). it is time for the American public to acknowledge there are no failing schools, just failing policies.

The inequities in educational opportunities are not the result of policies created by educators. The Every Student Succeeds Act was developed by politicians and "experts" who had minimal, if any, classroom experience. Teachers have known that ZIP code has more to do with educational outcomes than anything else, yet legislation that would ameliorate the conditions that affect impoverished areas isn't passed and teachers are blamed for the poor educational outcomes.

What is more of a concern are the other negative consequences of educational management using statistics. The focus of education becomes making numerical outcomes. Increasing graduation rates has led to more students unprepared for college and careers. Lowering absentee rates has resulted in creative ways of measuring time. Mark Twain liked to use the quote: "There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics." It is also time for the state’s board of education and department of education to stop the excuse of simply following directions.

Edward Kitlowski, Baltimore

The writer is a retired Baltimore County teacher and recent Baltimore County board of education candidate.

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