Letter to the Editor

Forgetting the goal of education?

Monday, January 21, 2008

To the Editor:

A young man withdrew from Northview High School this month.

He was in the 11th grade, had turned 18, had 13 credits at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, and still had not passed ninth-grade English.

Are we pushing our students through the grades faster than they learn? "No Child Left Behind" or any other program can only be effective if the student is on the bus and not dragged on a rope behind it.

I recently had the occasion to visit North Clay Middle School concerning a student. I was there almost an hour before anyone could tell me where that student was located, even though I spoke with the teacher who was teaching the class the student was in before she went to class and the teacher who was teaching the class everyone thought where he should have been. Are our schools so conflicted that no one even knows where the students are supposed to be at a given time?

I was told recently that I had not followed the activities of our schools long enough to understand their needs. While I have not participated for a long time, perhaps that is a good thing because I can look and see things that people involved closely are not seeing. Why was Clay City High School a "Best Buy" as a school and Northview was not? What are we doing right in one that is not done in the other under the same corporation? Why did only four of our elementary schools meet the Adequately Yearly Progress goals for 2006 out of the entire corporation?

Education is far too important in our society to ignore. Our children both need it and deserve it. We have developed a tool to educate the students, a school corporation comprised of the individual schools. That corporation and the schools are comprised of people. You could move all of that into tents along with the necessary supplies and equipment without ceasing operations or losing function.

Has our corporation and the schools lost sight of the goal, educating the student? When I am told that people want to build showplaces instead of schools, find that people do not know the intent of the laws controlling funds paid in for specific items, are wanting to use education tax dollars to stimulate community growth with impressive buildings, are willing to spend money on what people fancy that a school needs instead of taking the time to determine what a school needs by requirements of law and practical knowledge and are surprised that they can meet the need at a lower cost, I have to wonder.

Has the goal become to spend money "for the children" instead of to educate the children?

Leo Southworth,