Register Star’s columnist misrepresented school statistics

I could, if allowed (her solicitations for reader response are a joke), rebut everything Kris Kieper pontificates in the Register Star about. For instance, I don’t need to “note” that a person is Japanese, or “run the risk of not acknowledging” she had relatives in WWII internment camps—“impactful” on who she is. I’m more concerned about running such a risk with “unnoteworthy” persons like the Smothers Brothers, who lost their dad in the Bataan Death March. Impactful.

I’m also concerned about at least one aspect of the state of the Rockford Public Schools, which was cunningly misstated by Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield, and incompetently misreported by the Register Star (Dec.18).

In her Dec. 9 address, Sheffield said RPS 205 had had financial restrictions imposed on it (“fined’) by the State of Illinois “for suspending and expelling students in special education in disproportionate numbers,… and African-American males represented a disproportionate number of the students being disciplined.”

Please note, the second half of that sentence does not say, “and for doing so in disproportionate numbers to African-American students.” It couldn’t: the state’s disproportionality on that score is far worse than ours, locally.

Almost as if on cue, however, the Register Star trumpeted Sheffield’s sleight of hand thus: “because of a dramatic disparity between how often Rockford disciplines black special-education students versus the state average.” Flat-out wrong!

On the contrary, our Hispanic rate disparity was worse yet, and our white—yes, white—one was worst of all. It’s a double-shame: this is the real story, and it couldn’t be told.

Norman Bleed

From the March 2-8, 2011, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!