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We need to understand, solve our education situation

We need to understand, solve our education situation
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Education is failing our youngsters, not with grades, but with lowered standards. Our school system is suffering; I fear elementary students are prepared for the next grade as opposed to laying an academic foundation for crucial middle school, where solid, basic skills are worthy of high school, where teachers reinforce and refine those skills. Eleventh and 12th grades should be college and/or job preparation, not academic repetition. Not every student is college bound; however, he/she should have reasonable, secure options realized in high school.

Personally, for years, I have regretted the elimination of home economics, industrial arts, personal finance, etc. I gained appreciation for my classmates in those electives; I was a complete failure with zippers and tire changing and needed help from them just to pass.

What happened to the educational experiences that promoted teamwork, communication, sensitivity, compassion, loyalty, sportsmanship? Are educators and parents modeling these values? Friends, no time for blame; we have a situation.

It is my personal concern that we are teaching to SOL tests, not for SOL educational standards. Let’s teach for the test, not to the test. I realize our students come from a large demographic, but our teachers were educated in schools of education with similar standards.

I recall memorizing the list of prepositions, knowing that a few could be used as adverbs — breathe in, look out, move over. I learned and was taught that you can never find a subject or a verb in a prepositional phrase; nouns and pronouns are objects in prepositional phrases. “Here” and “there” are never subjects. I taught what I learned and practiced what I taught. Proper written and spoken grammar doesn’t change. “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.”

It concerns my educational background when I hear our students have the power to select learning zones: Green, ready for learning; Yellow, not sure, may try; Red, no way, need break. I can only assume there are roving counselors available. Giving that much power to elementary students is taking a huge instructional risk. It appears we are creating “comfort zones” for anxious students.

Successful education requires parent partnership, family counsel, trusted communications, reasonable suggestions, disciplined results and roving leadership. Colleagues, we have a situation.

Barbara Knowles

James City County



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