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The Long Reach High School marching band percussion plays during a kickoff celebration for Howard County schools before the first day of school.
The Long Reach High School marching band percussion plays during a kickoff celebration for Howard County schools before the first day of school. (Nate Pesce/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Although there are many aspects of Lew Jan Olowski’s op-ed that I find elitist and incendiary, I wanted to touch on one topic in particular (“Howard redistricting plan sacrifices families and students in the name of ‘equity,’” Aug. 27).

It appears that Mr. Olowski is conflating test scores with school quality. This overly simplistic and unincisive perspective wildly misses the mark. I have a daughter currently attending, and another one who recently graduated from, Wilde Lake High School, a school that he asserts has the “county’s lowest test scores.” In reflecting on my older daughter’s academic experience, it was her own commitment to education and the collective teacher quality at Wilde Lake that were so instrumental in shaping her as a student. Her high school prepared her well for the rigors of a highly competitive national university.

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I am hopeful that Mr. Olowski realizes that test taking is not a team sport (the test is administered to individuals) and the overall scores at a particular high school are more of a reflection of income and parental education level. There is no doubt that there is a dramatic difference in the percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced-price meals program by school. It is also undeniable that over the past several years the racial make-up of Howard County high schools has effectively resulted in a form of re-segregation. Based on Mr. Olowski’s article, I would imagine it would be a futile exercise to convince him of the manifold benefits of diversity.

His article suggests new families aspire to live in communities with homes starting at $1 million where these chosen few can revel in the glory of having the “privilege of sending their kids to high scoring schools.” What a travesty it would be to have these ever-so-fortunate children associate with all of those underachieving kids from low-income families. As for those who will experience the “privilege” of attending Wilde Lake from another school, I hope the quality of teaching, administrative leadership and infectious school spirit and are not too overwhelming for you.

Neal W. Bonner, Ellicott City

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