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Letter: Look at the whole picture

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

In reply to letters published last week by Sharon Slaughter and Richard Hicks, it seems necessary to point out some discrepancies between the statements made and available information. First, I believe that Ms. Slaughter was referring to data published on the Virginia Department of Education website, in particular the section "Superintendents’ Annual Report," which readers can find at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/statistics_reports/supts_annual_report/2009_10/index.shtml.

There is a great deal of information in these reports and it is worthwhile to examine them. Directly comparing one school system to another using the data requires more information than is included in the individual reports, though. For instance, Ms. Slaughter states that Middlesex’s school system is larger than Mathews, but the average daily membership for the most recent year (2009-2010 in this case) shows that the ADM in Mathews was 1,239 versus 1,191 for Middlese...

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