Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Letter I Didn't Send to the Editor

Dear Editor:

This year, **HS has sold the equivalent of medieval indulgences – a practice whereby the Catholic Church sold a “pass into heaven” to wealthy donors who wanted to make sure they didn’t get stuck in Purgatory. They gave up the practice over the years, but apparently **HS thinks it’s a great idea.

Rather than a pass forgiving your sins, **HS has let every junior who paid for a recommended cram course for the ACT/PSAE tests, skip their finals. That’s a pretty cheesy and unethical way to try to improve the school’s unimpressive test score average, and it’s certainly morally questionable. It’s not a bright move for the kids either, since those classes rarely result in noticeably higher scores – maybe a point or two for low-end students, but not enough to really help individual students. Maybe they’ll help **HS’s average, though, which was clearly the point.

Meanwhile, my daughter, who has sensible parents with high standards, has done what both character and common sense recommend. She has, every year, taken a roster of courses with challenging and relevant content, as opposed to lofty titles backed by bad teachers or second-rate content. She has paid attention, done her homework, asked questions, and gotten support, encouragement, and enrichment at home. She has aced her classes and, based on the ACT scores which arrived in the mail, done her part to significantly raise the school test average.

The school is rewarding her for her excellent character, dedication, diligence, and performance by making sure she is one of the few juniors who will be taking finals. We’re not worried; she’ll do fine. She’s done fine all year and has the highest possible average in each of her classes going in to the finals. She would have EARNED her way out of finals if such a thing were possible. Unfortunately, our standards were too high, or we could have BOUGHT her way out.

Nice going, **HS. What’s next? A “straight A” slacker track for jocks? Oh, wait, maybe that’s not sarcasm; maybe it’s just déjà vu. I though we were past this nonsense, Mr. H*** and school board members – I thought we were going to get some honest improvements in rigor and academic integrity at **HS. I guess I’m a sucker… Need any more copy paper?


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