Should an Uninformed Rabble-Rouser from Wall Dictate How We Should Vote in San Angelo?Opinion
OPINION — I read Mr. Casper’s opinion in San Angelo LIVE! with interest yesterday morning, and was left wondering how anyone would even agree with, let alone believe, half of what was written.
His example of the “kid who appeals for mercy,” while morbid and questionable; however, accurately depicts Mr. Casper as being like the out-of-town prosecutor, who willingly withholds and misapplies evidence and information that is used to convict an innocent child for a crime the prosecutor knows the child did not commit in the first place. Ultimately, when the conviction is overturned, this same out-of-town prosecutor blames the system, not himself, for his bungling of the case.
I find it interesting Mr. Casper’s voting precinct for schools is the Wall ISD (that’s right the Wall ISD), yet he is inaccurately assessing San Angelo ISD and trying to tell San Angeloans how to vote. This, while the Wall ISD just opened a new $20 million elementary school complete with all the same requirements we are wanting for our children here in the San Angelo ISD. How ironic and hypocritical of Mr. Casper!
Have we really come to this: allowing someone who cannot even vote for San Angelo ISD to tell us how we should vote for our future? I choose to not succumb to his tactics, false innuendos, and twisting of the facts, because as Joseph stated to his brothers, what people like Mr. Casper mean for bad, God means for good! I also hope all San Angeloans have already or will come to see him and people like him for who they really are — people who just don’t want to pay taxes.
Contrary to what Mr. Casper inaccurately stated, the truth is, the San Angelo ISD is graded upon the State-mandated “A-F Test,” not the “5-star” rating system. San Angelo scored a 77 (or a “C+”) as a district from the A-F Test. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely; do the teachers take their profession seriously — without question; are the San Angelo ISD teachers and students failing as Mr. Casper stated — -absolutely not!
The truth is, the “5-star” rating system is a snapshot taken in less than a week, that focuses more on the socio-economic status of the student population than it does on academics. The truth is this test negatively impacts a school’s rating because of its diversity and the economic status of the student’s parents. The truth is the test has been proven to depict faulty information about the marketplace, create misperceptions about school quality, and make diverse schools appear less desirable than those which are not diverse. This type of test distorts choices and contributes to the de facto housing segregation that continues to characterize parts of the United States. Don’t take mine or Mr. Casper’s word for it, read the 54-page study conducted by two Seton Hall University – School of Law researchers for yourself by clicking on the link.
The truth is, the teachers and principal at Lamar didn’t fail the students; they were and are in fact champions for the student’s success. The time to recognize someone cannot read or write is in elementary school; not when they are thrust into/onto society as an adult. If people like Mr. Casper believe that an elementary school’s only job is to “teach kids how to read and write and figure,” the failure is not on the school system, it is on people like Mr. Casper who have that type of mindset. Society and academics have moved way past that archaic level of curriculum and pedagogy, and I dare say the Wall ISD, where Mr. Casper can vote, has as well.
Again, Mr. Casper inaccurately states, “there is no correlation between the age and condition of school facilities and test scores.” The truth is, there is an abundance of evidence that goes back over 50 years that clearly shows a distinct link between the quality of school facilities and student achievement in English and mathematics. A Penn State study (see this link) concluded that, “while improving facilities comes at a financial cost, the benefits of such investments often surpass the initial fiscal costs. Policymakers, thus, should focus greater attention on the impacts of facilities and adopt a long-term cost-benefit perspective on efforts to improve school facilities.” There are numerous factual academic evaluations that disprove Mr. Casper’s accusation at its foundation. I provide links to four more articles for your own review.
- The walls speak: the interplay of quality facilities, school climate, and student achievement
- Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?
- School building condition, school attendance, and academic achievement in New York City public schools: A mediation model
- School Facility Conditions and Student Academic Achievement
Our teachers, principals, administrators and system are not the failure in San Angelo. What is failing San Angelo are people who listen to, believe, and follow someone like Mr. Casper. His rhetoric of “no taxes today, no taxes forever” reminds me of a misguided governor from another southern state. Just as we do not need a governor like that leading any state today, we also do not need someone with inaccurate facts (someone who cannot even vote for the SAISD bond) telling us how we should vote to better the quality of the facilities in SAISD. When you go to the polls to vote, remember the results of the Penn State study: “while improving facilities comes at a financial cost, the benefits of such investments often surpass the initial fiscal costs.” Because what people like Mr. Casper mean for bad, God means for good. Vote Yes for Prop A and Prop B; it is the right vote for San Angelo’s children and teachers, and our future!