Score one for the kids

Local schools to focus better on what track students are really on

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As parents and educators and counselors, we must walk a fine line: We want to dream big for our kids -- but we can't be doing their dreaming for them.

In other words, we have to be careful not to want things for them because we would want those things for ourselves.

Thus, we need to be honest with ourselves and our young. Part of doing that is the realization that the major four-year college experience isn't for everyone.

Why, then, should schools act like it is?

Refreshingly, new Richmond County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson is hitting the reset button: He's sending a message throughout the district that teachers, counselors and others need to be careful not to be pushing all students toward the four-year college path -- or, by extension, toward the college entrance exams that stand at the threshold.

Some aren't cut out for it. Some -- if given all the options -- would choose something else.

Absolutely! Let them!

This discussion has come up again recently here, largely in the context of the annual SAT conundrum: Should high schools administer the Scholastic Aptitude Test to all students? And if they do, doesn't that unfairly drag down the schools' average scores?

Isn't that like computing a college football team's average speed in the 40-yard dash by timing the entire student body?

Isn't there a happy medium?

Yes, and Dr. Roberson is onto it.

Like it or not, despite repeated advice to the contrary, SAT scores are compared by society -- among schools, districts and states. So how a district administers the test, and to whom, is a matter that unfortunately reflects back on the schools.

That's not the important consideration here, however. What's important is the kids' lives we're tinkering with. What's important is that they be given the proper guidance as to whether college is right for them -- and if so, what type of college. Technical college, for instance, is not only growing in popularity, but in prestige as well: With technology taking over our lives, tech graduates can pull down some pretty impressive salaries -- and can attract the attention of employers from all points on the map.

Moreover, if we exhort a student on to, say, a liberal arts or research university for which the student is ill-suited, all we've done is set the young man or woman up for failure.

We appreciate Dr. Roberson's attention to this matter and his approach to it. He's onto something very profound and significant.

We also applaud how he has refocused the discussion -- on the kids. It used to be that the debate was centered on how SAT testing made the schools and the district and even the state look. The real point of the SAT dilemma is whether we're doing the students a great service or a disservice.

That, folks, is the real test.

If we focus on that, not only will the schools look good -- they'll be even better.

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Riverman1 12/06/10 - 08:19 am
I agree with Dr. Roberson's

I agree with Dr. Roberson's plan. The fact is MOST are not a good fit when it comes to college academics. Technical education can be more appropriate and inspiring to many kids in high school. Some students do better when they can focus on learning a hands-on skill.

It's easy to understand why some students are so disruptive when they are in classes they are not cut out for. Put them in something that gives them pride and hope and their behavior will change, too.

Sandpiper 12/06/10 - 08:20 am
What??? An administrator

What??? An administrator who's focused on the viable education of the students instead of the social engineering agenda of the Department of Education? I foresee problems.

I hope Dr Robinson and A/RC has the determination to return schools to the education goals they were originally set up with.

dani 12/06/10 - 10:38 am
But that goes against Obama's

But that goes against Obama's hope and change for EVERY CHILD to have a college education..

double_standard 12/06/10 - 11:30 am
Hopefully Dr. Roberson can

Hopefully Dr. Roberson can expose the fraud that is no child left behind that was strongly supported by our thug governor Raw Deal.

TexasTgirl 12/06/10 - 07:34 pm
"Channelling" I believe its

"Channelling" I believe its called, based on early to middle high school performance does risk leaving many late blooming children behind forever, but would definitely make school and school district performance benchmarks look great in the short-term. Advise proceed with extreme caution here-- slippery slope.

Cadence 12/06/10 - 10:08 pm
Don't they have college prep

Don't they have college prep and tech prep tracks already? They can always come back and take the SAT if they decide to. I did when I decided to go to college after getting my GED. I dropped out, grew up, got some sense, and dropped back in.

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