Accreditation changes shift focus to academic performance

Sunday, March 27, 2011 | 3:04 p.m. CDT; updated 3:17 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 27, 2011

KANSAS CITY — Missouri is proposing sweeping accreditation changes that would add a series of new tests and require districts to better monitor how their graduates fare in college.

The state would no longer take into account such things as the ratios of students to teachers, administrators and counselors and whether districts offer certain courses such as art and physical education. Instead, the newest version of the Missouri School Improvement Program would focus solely on how students perform academically.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Michele Clark says the direction the state is heading is "really exciting."

But the changes have prompted a range of concerns, including the fear that ratios of students to staff would rise and that art and music will be overlooked because meeting certain staffing ratios and teaching certain classes is only a guideline.

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Delcia Crockett March 28, 2011 | 5:53 a.m.

Don't they have this backwards?

Should it not be that each child is monitored, upon entering school and throughout school prior to college - to the extent that the child is told on the first day of school, "Welcome to school! You can go to college!"?

Then keep that monitor focus on every child having a way into college, so that all disruptions, problems, or getting off the track on the way can be dealt with?

If you have only 20 students in each class with each teacher, teacher aides, counselors, administration and all these assistants-of-the-administration in place in the school system, why should you lose one child?

Let the college and universities monitor their own students' progress, but the K-12 make sure the students get there.

Also, if we can spend outlandish amounts in pork-barreling and outsourcing our taxpaying money to "help" others around the globe, why cannot we make sure that we give our students every fund possible to keep them in class - when they are willing to work and put in the effort to make the grade there? And, then carefully monitor the colleges to make sure they are spending tax-payers' money in the best interest of the student, and not in fluff for the college? There should be a place students can file report of progress and problems, separate from hired university staff, not the university file the report.

From first day of school in its life, the child should have no fear future education would have to be absent for his/her life - if he/she can make the grade he/she should be able to attend college - and not develop the thinking in childhood years that he/she would be defeated before starting.

We lose a lot of brilliant kids because negativity gets to them first, deadlocks, and then we cannot get them back.

You will never know those odds, if you have not worked with children who have endured continual negativity, or if you have not been among those who had to overcome this yourself - and if we had an education governor or President, or even enough government representatives, who could realize this - then the "bright eyes" of first entering school could stay alive with focus of goal in mind, from the very beginning.

They earn it, they should get it. That should be the motto. Not half-way, not left out or behind - but all the way through, the thought in mind, "I can go to college and be anything I want to become, because it is there for me, just like my first desk in pre-school and kindergarten."

Educate the parents into this thinking. Stop the hand-outs and put that money on funding tuition grants.

The parents need to encourage their kids on, and the schools need to not let up for a minute in the focus of goal, from day one of that child's school life.

Yes, I think the government has got this one backwards - and channeling the funding in the wrong direction with it.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 28, 2011 | 6:04 a.m.

One reason why we have some of the problems we have in primary and secondary education is past program changes that were, at the time, deemed "really exciting."

Student-teacher ratios must not be downgraded to an optional concern.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett March 29, 2011 | 11:25 a.m.

This is an in-box message I got this morning from another state, that has gone through this already:

We have had this in Texas for several years now. What we are producing is children who: cannot think, are not well-rounded, hate school, are being coached for a test instead of being taught what they need to function in life, are unable to appreciate any part of the education process, do not relate school to life, etc........

Until parents and teachers put their feet down and scream "NO" from the tops of buildings all over this country, we will continue to fail our children. My college roomie lives in Tampa. She has high school kids who don't know about the Civil War, but they can pass the test. They can't read directions, but they can pass the test. They can't interact with their peers intelligently, but they can pass the test. As my sister, who quit teaching because of the test, says, I simply can no longer go there. We are failing our children and our society, and we are letting this happen by our inability or unwillingness to fight it.

(Report Comment)

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