One day we read about Modesto City School's Step Up program ("Plan to 'Step Up' student success OK'd," July 15, Page A-1), to put everyone on the college-prep track. The next we read about horrendous dropout rates in high schools ("Dropout rates in high schools alarm educators," July 17, Page A-1). It seems school policy-makers and administrators are creating their own problems. Putting everyone in college-prep classes is not going to make more people successful in school or in life.
Does anyone pay attention to what kids say? They say two things: School is boring, and, "There's nothing there for me." The answer is relevance. But not the kind policy-makers, administrators and politicians advance. Find out what the kids are doing with their time outside school. Ask their parents.
Unfortunately, few kids can follow in their parents' footsteps, because our work culture is changing so rapidly. The most successful kids are those from the most affluent and educated households. They have "pathways" to success, a concept Beyer High School is promoting. We have to create "pathways" for all students, from every socioeconomic background.
The kids are ahead of us with their video games, interactive simulations, etc. Don't keep stifling their imaginations with "one size fits all" programs and standardized testing. Let our imaginations reign, too. And let's quit denigrating one of our most valuable resources, the community college.
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