Sorry I have not been writing much lately but I have been a little busy here at home and on the road.
Even though my home bound instruction is tapering off, it generally takes up a good portion of Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Then there is the triathlon coming up on June 1, in which I train for on Tuesday mornings, Thursday mornings and Saturday mornings, in addition to bike rides when ever there is time. Just to make things even more interesting I have been subbing at the local Chick Buckbee center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
I just finished installing my solar hot water heater which took a lot more time than I expected. But now it is making lots of free hot water!
This is an interesting link where people discuss nutrition and the current trend in eating.
With ideas changing quickly on what is good to eat and what is not, it is a good idea to stay updated and make your own decisions.
There have been rumors circulating around the county about our local high school that our is in serious academic trouble with the state. Being the snoop I am, I took the time to do a little research on the issue. It did not take long to find the state ranking of West Virginia high schools. http://www.schooldigger.com/go/WV/schoolrank.aspx?level=3
As I scanned the 113 high schools which were arranged according to their math and related arts scores, I became more deeply concerned. As I drifted through the first 10, then 30, 60, and then beyond 90, with no sign of Hampshire High, it became apparent that we are in considerable trouble. I continued down the list all the way to 111 and there found good old Hampshire High, two places up from the lowest scoring school in the state, Mount View High! Upon further study of the scores I determined that the highest scoring school, Bridgeport High, with a West Test composite score of over 150, almost tripling our score of 60! Local schools like Keyser (score 100) and Moorefield (score 94) almost doubled our scores! It would seem that we are pursuing the honor of being the lowest scoring high school in the state. Let’s be clear, Hampshire High was never an academic powerhouse, but we were never this far down!
So what does this mean? Does it mean that our teachers are bad, our students are not working, our administration is non-functional, or our Board of Education is out to lunch? I think it is a little bit of all of these. I know for a fact that there are teachers who remind me of Ditto from the movie TEACHERS. I know there are students who could care less if they do well in school. I know that there are administrators and teachers who have no clue what academic rigor entails. And for sure, there are board members who are clueless about the state of our schools and what to do about it.
I hope that this issue is as troubling to most others as it is to me. This is the school many of us will send our children or grandchildren to prepare them for the real world. These teachers and administrators are responsible for educating our children so that they will be productive members of society. I sensed several years ago that our high school was in trouble and wrote often about my concerns, but nothing has changed; in fact, it has continued downhill.
I am almost certain that the state has threatened to come into the county to take over with the idea of fixing the problem. There is one unavoidable concern I have with this approach, i.e., at least one of the schools below us is from a county that was just recently taken over by the state. To put differently, the state has no idea how to fix the problem. The answer has to come from within, and there is no one I know who is willing or capable of leading us out of this mess. The problems that our county faces are so deeply ingrained in the local philosophy that it may not be a fixable problem.
At the risk of repeating, here is my solution:
1. Stop this ridiculous, excessive and useless testing.
2. Hold teachers and students accountable.(to be determines)
3. Make class time a sacred time during which there are NO interruptions!
4. Structure classes such that they are a challenge and a worthwhile endeavor.
5. Create competency tests for all grade levels to determine if a child is ready to move on.
Make no mistake, in today’s over-regulated world, this will be a major undertaking, but it is essential, for the sake of the future of this county and country that we take the first steps in a very new direction! The problems we are facing at the local level are being felt country-wide. We are not alone in this arena but are much ahead of the competition in poor performance.