Making progress, but at what cost?

Published 5:10 pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dear editor,

According to Adequate Yearly Progress scores released each year, many schools are excelling. The schools make yearly progress and pass goal after goal. But are students learning the essentials they will need for life after school? Are they prepared to transition into the work force or college campuses? Unfortunately, many are not.

Instead, because of the challenge of performing against the best schools from around the state, a “win at all cost” mentality has been created. Administrators, teachers and staff alike are asked to cut corners, trim the fluff and focus solely on the areas that are tested. When this happens, the student loses. They lose the chance to learn to read for pleasure instead of reading for tests. They lose the chance to learn about the pivotal events that shaped our state, our country and our world. They lose the opportunity to learn the essence of music and art. They lose the prospect of learning a trade and the importance of creating something original with their own two hands.

The reality is that while numbers on paper look exactly the same, the quality of education from a school that teaches a well-rounded curriculum and a student-first approach and a school that teaches to the test and a scores-first approach is vastly different. A “win at all cost” mentality always creates a winner and a loser; our children shouldn’t be the loser. It is a lesson to learn, and learn now because the stakes are high. Our children’s futures are at stake.

Jared Hood, Clanton