Monday, January 23, 2006

Who Cares About the Smart Kids?

Hubs and I went to a crab feed over the weekend with some friends of ours.

(DD#2: "Where are you going?"

Me: "On a date with your dad."

DD#2: "You still go on dates?")

The discussion turned to our local public school district. One couple had transferred their daughter to a neighboring district. We are considering doing the same with DS#2. I asked the dad what made him decide to transfer his daughter, since his son is currently in the district.

"When I was told by several members of the Board and the Administration that their focus was on those kids who didn't pass the high school exit exam. If you have a smart kid, like yours and mine are, they're not a priority. They're not concerned about the smart kids."

I wasn't surprised to hear that. In fact, I had suspected it, based on the experience DD#1 had the last couple of years. The quality of teachers and the curriculum in the College Prep and Advanced Placement courses has declined quite precipitously over the last three years.

I have a suggestion: if a student can't keep up in a college prep or Advanced Placement class, maybe s/he doesn't belong there.

Our high school has different levels of sports teams: Freshman, JV, Varsity. Everyone seems to recognize that not all players on the basketball team have the same skill set. Not everyone makes the Varsity, even after playing for four years; not all players get equal playing time.

Why is that acceptable in sports but not in academics?

I also believe that there is a certain minimum level of knowledge every high school graduate should have. They should be able to read and write a coherent, logical sentence. They should be able to do basic math and simple Euclidean geometry. But don't hold back those who can in order to catch up those who can't!

Yet that is what our school district wants to do. And they wonder why they are losing families to interdistrict transfers, private schools, and homeschooling.