February 25, 2011 11:57:00 AM
It''s crunch time for some high school seniors across the state -- 11 percent of them, to be exact, who may spend another year in 12th grade if they can''t pass the state''s standardized tests.
That statewide number is shocking -- more than one of 10 students isn''t considered proficient enough to get a high school diploma.
The numbers are worse locally.
At Columbus High, 15 percent of students -- 42 of 272 seniors -- are in danger of repeating their senior year. Seventeen percent of the senior class at West Lowndes High, and 16 percent at New Hope high, may be again wandering the halls of their high schools next year.
Caledonia High School stands alone as the only public school in the county where all its seniors have passed subject area tests.
Repeating 12th grade is rare, however, and most every student will get remediation classes and pass their tests before their last chance to take them, in April.
But that so many students are performing so poorly on the basics to this late date is troubling.
This, after teachers have been drilled to "teach to the test." In recent years, curriculum has been rigidly structured with the goal of getting students over the testing hurdles set up by state and federal laws. At stake is education dollars, which is tied to districts'' performance.
We bemoan this "teach to the test" atmosphere. And, we also see that something is amiss when students, who are being "taught to the test," still can''t pass them.
The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the teachers. But guess what? By the time you''re a high school senior, you''ve had enough opportunity for help that you should have this stuff figured out. We''re comfortable with the teaching staffs at our local schools, and think most of them go above and beyond to teach their kids.
The state superintendent, according to the Associated Press, is "requesting that each superintendent ... make sure that their high school personnel meet with each parent of each student and make sure that parents understand the status of their children."
Such a task -- rounding up the parents -- is even harder than teaching their kids. Ask any public high school teacher who shows up for parent-teacher conferences. Answer: The parents of the kids who are doing well. More often than not, the parents of the troubled kids are nowhere to be seen.
Kids don''t have a chance unless they have parents'' involvement at home.
Here''s a pop quiz: How has your kid done on his or her state tests?
If you can''t answer that question, you''re part of the problem.
2. Ask Rufus: Oysters, steamboats and Thanksgiving LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Charity should not be seasonal DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Leonard Pitts: Bill Cosby, serial rapist? That's a lot to forgive NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Michael Gerson: Leaving the harder path NATIONAL COLUMNS