We did fine without college
To the editor:
I have been saying to people for the past couple of years, "What went wrong?"
What went wrong with the Washington County school system? What was wrong with the curriculum we had in the '70s and early '80s that had to be changed so dramatically? Why did we get rid of programs that haven't changed?
We had health fields, masonry, carpentry and trades. There is always a need for these. Everyone is not college-bound.
What do all the tests do for our kids, other than stress them out, cause dropouts, put them on medications. We need to get back to the way it was. I feel I have been successful without college. We didn't have all these tests. I hire students now who can't even add simple addition or write up a work order. (It's just basic everyday common knowledge).
What happened? I would like the superintendent and any administrative persons who are employed and making these decisions to answer this. I welcome readers' response. I just feel our kids are not having our money put to good use.
No expense left behind
Federal school program is costly, but unfunded; demanding, but misguided
By Jon Galley
Public education in America is a prerogative reserved to the states and each of their local school districts. Essentially, the feds can only prescribe educational requirements by threatening to withhold funding or as a matter of constitutionality.
In 2001 Congress passed and the president signed into law a law known as "No Child Left Behind." It is touted as the most sweeping change affecting public education since 1965 and its essential purpose is to raise the quality of public education. That is a noble, well intentioned, and needed goal. How could one argue with that?
Nonetheless, I wonder how many people know the mandates that are in this legislation in terms of cost impact and operational impact for local school systems if, that is, a school system expects to receive federal dollars for education. The purpose of this commentary is to discuss some of these mandates and to suggest some further areas for consideration.
Let's just take a cursory look at three areas. First, teachers must be qualified. They must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, possess state certification in their instructional areas, and demonstrate competency in each of the academic subjects they teach at the middle and high school level. They can demonstrate competency through academic majors, course work equivalent to a content major or passing an examination in that area similar, for example, to the Praxis examination. The Praxis examination is the national teacher certification or competency tests. How could one argue with such a requirement? I certainly don't. Ah, but the devil is in the details.
A certified elementary teacher without a content major cannot teach at the middle or high school level and be considered highly qualified under this law. If a teacher teaches two subjects such as English and social studies she would have to have met the requirements for both subject areas.
So, you ask, what is the big deal about this? It is not unusual for teachers to be required to teach outside of their primary subject area for which they do not have the requisite certification or major field of study.
This means that they would have to go to the further effort to obtain qualifications in any subject area they teach or risk being designated as unqualified. Senior teachers, therefore, who are and have been very effective may no longer qualify to teach at a different level. Do you want your child's teacher to be "unqualified?" Of course not! Yet teachers will now be faced with the added burden of acquiring additional qualifications or the system will risk losing federal dollars.