To the editor:
When any assessment is taken, there is usually valuable information that can be obtained from the collected data, which can then be used to improve whatever it is you are assessing. But, caution and a healthy dose of skepticism should be used, especially when blanket-statement results are released without detailing what methods and criteria were used in the report.
Such is the case with the recent article published in The Star sharing Ball State University's Community Asset Inventory and Rankings report that ranked DeKalb County's quality of life. I personally do not feel that Ball State's evaluation paints an accurate picture of the quality of life that we enjoy in our county.
For instance, the C+ that DeKalb County was given for education. I can all but assure you that professionally recognized licenses (electrician, HVAC, plumbers, etc.), training certificates, maintenance apprenticeships and skilled trade Journeyman cards, are not tracked in their educational attainment data. All of these areas of career development and continuing education are hugely important and highly valued in our manufacturing-heavy DeKalb County. Workplace shortages of these occupations are still at critical levels.
Also, most people are aware that K-12 assessment test scores are not an accurate measure for how our schools are preparing students to become responsible, productive citizens.
Another area that raised concern for me was our C grade for arts, entertainment and recreation, which was unchanged from our 2012 grade. This makes me seriously question whether those who conducted the assessment ever visited DeKalb County. County citizens can boast a totally revitalized downtown Auburn which has sparked so many fun activities including Main Street's First Fridays, concerts and fundraisers held at the James Cultural Plaza.
And also, Garrett's Museum of Arts, Food Truck Mondays and Heritage Days Festival activities including a concert and fireworks, the DeKalb County Outdoor Theater's concerts all summer, a new park coming soon to Waterloo, changes happening in downtown Butler. And I know I am missing many, many more things that are going on in our communities, this is just a few — but how can we have the same grade that we had seven years ago?
To not be recognized for the numerous quality of life improvements that have been accomplished is quite frankly, a slap in the face. Our communities are beginning to partner with each other like never before with a collective commitment to improving the quality of life for DeKalb County citizens. I am among many others who applaud the efforts of those hard working, dedicated people. I am proud to be a DeKalb County resident.