I write this letter in hopes that in some way I can make a difference in education in Fayette County.
It grieves me to think about our low ranking in the state and West Virginia’s low ranking in our country. We are at the “bottom of the bottom.”
Yet, when I look at honor roll lists and see that on a regular basis 50 to 75 percent of elementary students are on the honor roll in many of the schools, several questions come to mind. Here are some of them:
• Why are students not being challenged?
• Are teachers grading papers?
• Are students using their textbooks to take “tests?”
• Why are principals not questioning this?
Check the honor roll list from an elementary school shown in the Feb. 2 edition of The Fayette Tribune. In one classroom, 22 students were listed as having made the honor roll! (For those who may not be aware, there are class size limits of 24.) In another class at the same school, six students were listed as having made straight A’s. Nineteen students were named in another class.
Three or four years ago I attended a local high school graduation program when exactly 60 percent of the students were listed as honor graduates! I called the superintendent and every Board of Education member and reported it, but the same school has had about 40 percent honor graduates each year since then.
I have personal knowledge from relatives in Elyria, Cleveland and Chillicothe, Ohio about the following facts:
• They don’t have bus service. (If students live more than 2 miles from the school, they are given a voucher to use public transportation.)
• They don’t have free textbooks. Students are not permitted to take textbooks out of the classroom.
• They don’t have class-size limits. (My niece taught a kindergarten class in Elyria with 33 students and no aide. Also, several of the students didn’t speak English.)
I assume these facts are true all over the state. West Virginia schools offer so much more, but Ohio far outranks us. Why??
I would like to suggest that the principal, or some official, sit in the classroom when a test or written assignment is being done, then check the papers themselves to see what percentage of students have scored A’s and B’s. If this were done on a regular basis for any teacher who lists more than 40 percent of the students on the honor roll, it might make a difference. If students truly are getting high scores, then teachers need to “up the ante” about what is being taught. I think this could improve the educational system at no extra cost!
In closing, I might add that when I graduated from Fayetteville High School, we had 83 graduates, but there were only nine honor graduates. I guess there would be a lynching if this happened today.