Denise Swogetinsky needs a reality check. I don’t know many fourth or fifth graders who know what career they are going to pursue when they become adults. To decide that only certain kids should take the academic courses that will allow them to enter college is unfair. All kids, rich or poor, black or white, should be given the chance to attend college. Having different “tracks” leaves those fourth and fifth grade kids that the guidance counselors don’t deem college material at a disadvantage. What happens when those kids hit 11th grade and decide they do want to pursue a college degree, only to learn that it is to late for them as they were put on the vo-tech track and do not have the courses they need to get into college?
Secondly Mississippi hasn’t adequately funded Kindergarten thru 12th grade. The last thing we need is a pre-kindergarten program (glorified daycare) taking money away from K-12th grade programs.
A non graded K-3 smacks of those liberal feel good programs that refuse to grade student’s work because it might hurt their self-esteem if they don’t make a 100 or don’t do as well on a test as their friend. Keep the grades; just make sure each student has adequately mastered the work for their grade level before passing them on to the next grade.
And if you want to improve the public schools here are some simple low-cost steps you can take
- Group students according to their ability. Put all the A students together, all the B students together, all the C students together etc. so that slower students do not hold their classmates back and so that the students that need extra help can get it. But by all means teach them the same thing. The C student in 4th grade may become an A student in 5th grade.
- Students that disrupt the class should not be there.
- Recognize that students have different learning styles and make it the teacher’s responsibility to discover the learning style that best suits her students.
- Provide students with up to date textbooks, and well-educated teachers. Get rid of teachers that aren’t doing an adequate job (No matter how long they have been with the school system).
- Work with parents. A school board that ignores the wishes of its student’s parents is doomed to failure.