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School district must take drastic measures

July 18, 2012
The Leader Herald

Should the residents who live in the Gloversville Enlarged School District be disappointed with the quality of education that is being offered?

Year after year, the school district has been classified as a "needs improvement" school or district.

With low language arts scores, math scores showing little improvement and a graduation rate below 60 percent, Gloversville will now be designated as a "priority" school. It seems when schools are consistently failing to develop better programs, they change the terminology to confuse the parents. Now "needs improvement" means "priority." Or does it?

Frank Pickus references a new way of calculating adequate yearly progress. While the new calculations for adequate yearly progress are stringent, they will not be key in determining a school district's accountability status. My question is, "what does?"

Remember, the Education Department found it difficult to be proficient under the "No Child Left Behind Act," so waivers have been issued with new guidelines and objectives. I see this as another example of dumbing down our students while teacher accountability is ignored.

If I were a teacher or board member, I would be embarrassed over the school district's graduation rate; 54 percent is a failing grade in anybody's book.

The Gloversville school district needs to take some drastic measures if it hopes to turn this district around.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of working with a team of education professionals to design, develop and run an experiential education program (outward bound activities). These students, much like the ones in the school district, had learning and behavioral problems. But learning through a combination of classroom and outward bound activity improved their grades. Behavioral problems decreased and students took on more responsibility for their actions. This curriculum was approved and accredited by both the Board of Education and BOCES.

I only mention this because the school district needs to start thinking "out of the box" when it comes to offering better educational programs for success.

It is time the school district stopped confusing parents and demanded weekly or biweekly meetings with parents who have troubled youth. Make parents part of the process, even when they do not want to be part of it. No one says it is going to be easy. It takes a dedicated staff with an interest in children - not salaries and benefits - to accomplish this task.

ART SIMONDS

Gloversville

 
 

 

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