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EDUCATION: Ideas take a blanket approach

Letter by Jeff Honeycutt, Walla Walla on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm | No Comments »
February 19, 2013 1:39 pm

Re: “Disturbing trend: Making schools a partisan issue” (Peter Callaghan column, 2-17).

The proposal to grade schools and retain third-graders who cannot read at grade level is a blanket approach to a problem that affects schools and students.

Instead of assigning school grades, why not look at schools in similar socio-economic areas that have a high percentage of third-graders who are reading? Why keep reinventing the wheel?

I have had students who could read at a first-grade level in sixth grade. The question should be why? Why have they gotten that far and not met grade-level standards?

I’ll tell you why: We have students who are learning-disabled, students who are culturally deprived, students who have behavior disorders, students who grow up in such chaotic households that they worry more about going home than reading.

We seem to be top-heavy in administration statewide and lacking in reading intervention specialists. Plus, we cannot change all the ills of society with a magic wand. To give a school a D or an F because of its inability to get all third-graders to read is unfair to the teachers and sets up an atmosphere of paranoia. And that’s not going to foster collegiality and energy in the schools.

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