After reading the opinion article on high school education, I would like to express my views. I believe I had a high school that motivated students to grow and learn who they are and what they seek to become.
Why was our school the best?
First, all the teachers had master’s degrees (not expected in a town of 7,000 citizens). They did not have to follow strict curriculum guidelines. We did an experiment in home economics that was carried out over a semester. It could never have been accomplished in the short time of present classroom blocks.
Second, we had fewer class choices but they followed a track of our goals — business, science (for nursing), foreign language (Latin), farming, home economics (where we learned to take care of ourselves). I remember one of my children rebelling against algebra. I knew it was necessary for college admission, but she signed up for math for daily living. We laugh about it now. She says she used that knowledge through her life.
Third, our classrooms had a mixture of intellectual capacity — this made me work harder.
Fourth, our goals were recognized and encouraged by our teachers. Each student had value. It is a different time now — teaching has become stressful with many expectations. It is frustrating when they can’t teach — why they went into the profession. Respect and support them. Listen with an open mind when they tell you something they observed.
Try to encourage your children to do community service projects. They are tools for teaching responsibility. A small job is good — in the home or in public. Life lessons are learned from peers. Don’t waste your four years.
Barbara A. Schmidt