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Related: USA Education

Not Allowed to Fail

by Charles Adler


In response to commentary, "Can't read, Can't write, Can pass," by Cal Thomas
published in the Washington Times and articles by D.K. Brennan.



Failing students are the result of our failing public school system. These students come unprepared to class, their apathy has no bounds, and they don’t take responsibility for there own education. What’s new. There have always been a clique of students that fit this description.

Lets examine what we are trying to achieve. At a minimum we want students to graduate from high school with basic abilities that allows them to function in society. They should be able to; read, write, and do simple math, the three ‘R’s. All students, regardless of age, should remain in school until these basic abilities are learned. Those who can’t, undeniably, suffer a greater disability and require special attention.

Lets define the student body. We can put our students into three categories. The first are those students who excel at their studies and are a joy for the teacher. The second is the average student who is doing enough to get by, and this group is by far the greatest number of students in our high schools. The third category, and most frustrating, are those students who refuse to participate, are not prepared, and are disruptive in class. The three categories of students are not based on ability, but on attitudes.

Now let us put our students in the curriculum according to their attitude. The good students shall share classes with good students, the average student with average students, and disruptive students with disruptive students. The school can not allow the disruptive students to prevent other students from receiving an education.

We will design the curriculum for the good students as a challenge for them and call this the academic group. It will be preparation for college entry, along with the basic three ‘R’s.
The average student shall be placed in a business curriculum. These studies will provide students with a solid foundation for entry into the job market. The third group, our problem children, shall be placed in general studies. A copy of the business curriculum, but with an emphasis on the basic three ‘R’s.

No student will graduate without demonstrating a working knowledge of the three ‘R’s. The three ‘R’s are stressed in all curriculums.
No student shall be expelled from school. Expulsion is no solution, its capitulation. Of course there are students that must be given up. But we need to make that action as rare as snow on the equator. Expulsion of a student should only be applied if the teacher, counselor, and principal agree and the students behavior is reviewed by a third and independent party within the educational system. After expulsion, we should try to get expelled students back to school.

Early and on going class consulting between counselor and student should be aggressively pursued. Class counseling requires permanent staffing and it needs to be aggressively applied. The counselor should meet with individual students to insure them that someone cares about them and they will not be allowed to leave school without achieving passing grades.

Students should be allowed to elect classes and move freely from Academic, to Business and General study in classes of interest to them. But only after discussion and agreement with a student counselor and their teachers.

Parents should be advised and included in making decisions on the education of their children. However, its the professionals, counselors and teachers, who are in charge. At no time should a parent have the authority to abridge the good faith actions of the institution.

Our teachers should have one goal, the graduation of all students with a high school degree, even if some students leave school with a minimum of basic skills. Minimum skills are defined as the ability to read, write, and do simple math such that one is able to function in society. Then our public schools will be judged successful. This system is based on a 1950’s model of public education.

The education triad, in order of importance, is the student, the teacher, and the parent. When a child becomes a student they become more then children. Parents consign the right to teachers to teach their children as students. Empower our teachers and they will do right by our children.

END - PAGE 1 OF 1



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