After the fiasco with Beaufort High School Principal Dan Durbin came to light, I wrote a letter to the newspaper expressing my thoughts. I received a call from the superintendent's office and an invitation to attend a meeting of school officials and interested parties. I went.
During that two-hour meeting, a presentation on student-progress tracking was presented. How students compared to state averages in all grades was tracked. Most tracking data right through the higher grade levels indicated a lackluster performance at best. As an engineer and scientist, I study data. I raised a question about the data. Nowhere in any data collected was a measurement of reading progress. If you can't read, you can't succeed.
Now I see we have a "minimum" grade to encourage students to do better. I reiterate my original argument in my original letter. Would you want a brain surgeon operating on you who received the minimum grade simply for encouragement? Our public school system is raising functional illiterates. Excuses about how this differs from what Durbin did are simply that, excuses. Excuses are not reasons.
Accountability for success is a dual responsibility of teacher and parent. Obviously, kids are failing on both levels. Kid's fascination with sports and media culture rather than education isn't helping. Most disturbing is a culture of minimum parenting. Nikita Khrushchev was right back in the '60s. We will destroy ourselves from within. Apparently, it starts with functionally illiterate kids becoming functionally illiterate adults.
Arthur V. Martin