Edward Thompson: Not everyone’s an honors student
This year, the Summit School District made sweeping changes that endanger all our children’s future potential for success. Under the guise of the term “equal access,” a small group of administrators seeking budget cuts obliterated all honors classes that have motivated and challenged students for decades. Simultaneously, they implemented a grading system that muddles the distinctions between students seeking excellence, and those more interested in disrupting the classroom.
This “new teaching method” has erroneously been titled “equal access” to sidetrack and marginalize any opponents into positions of ethnicity and unfair advantages. The stated goals are to “close the gap between lowest and highest achieving learners.” The changes should be called “Extinguished Access,” as they demolish the potential success of the majority of SHS students who seek to compete for colleges and in the future.
Although these changes conflict with the school’s mission of providing challenging learning experiences for all students, they were made by an apparently uninformed school board, with no communication to the community. Instead of a community discussion of methods to engage students who the current system is failing, we were kept in the dark while all schedules changed to eliminate the classes that motivate students to succeed.
Last week, hundreds of parents met with the school to voice strong opposition to these changes. Instead of providing information or rational, the school provided biased questions and plans to compile comments. The community must respond when strong concerns are rebuffed by platitudes such as “all students are now honor students,” putting all levels of abilities into a mosh of overcrowded classrooms. In this increasingly competitive world, our schools must focus on raising the level of learning, not continuously compromising it. Unfortunately, the school made it clear this will not happen unless parents continue to demand immediate answers.
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