letter: Columbus Dispatch attacks principled kid & his Pop
Who researched the “Quixotic quest” editorial?
The law does NOT require anyone to take the proficiency tests. If one chooses not to take the test, one is NOT breaking the law, and simply will not be given a diploma. Any student who gets good grades and has met graduation requirements but is denied a diploma will have little problem getting into higher education programs (e.g. see how home-schooled kids progress to higher education).
Not only has John Wood NOT broken any laws, but he has also NOT hurt his future educational opportunities.
Likewise, under the actual circumstances I’ve just described, George Wood, John’s father and principal, should be honored for raising a thoughtful and courageous son, and – even more so – for supporting him in the face of the criticism he must have known would be coming (the “Dispatch” providing only a bit of the likely whole).
John and George’s sin is not “breaking the law,” but “not playing ball.” Their behavior (perfectly legal, honorable behavior) challenges the compassionately conservative conventional wisdom inherent in the editorials criticism that: without these tests, schools can’t “see how well students are doing” (never mind that I, a sixty year old man took tests in my childhood throughout my school years and then gave those tests to my students for decades, LONG before the proficiency tests were conceived; and never mind that teachers just might be able to tell – on their own – “how well students are doing”).
John and George also indirectly challenge the sophistry, repeated by the editorial, that “minority and low-income students” fare badly because they (as "W" put it) “face the soft bigotry of low expectations.” It is so much preferable to believe that if only schools would “have a greater interest in reaching out to every child to help him succeed,” the effects of racism, discrimination, poverty, class divisions and all the problems associated with those four horsemen could be overcome. It would certainly be cheaper than actually addressing the problems directly – and much more politically expedient.
Finally, and coming back to the research behind this editorial, that 99% passing figure must be either wrong or one of those legendary statistics (as in “Lies, damned lies, and statistics’). You may have noticed that our illustrious governor and his colleagues met recently (along with some big-money-dilberts such as Bill Gates) and beat their breasts over both the number of dropouts and inadequate student performance.
Oh, too many dropouts!! How to fix it? Make the tests “more rigorous”; that’ll fix it. In any case, with a very high dropout/non-graduating student population, it seems likely to me that the 99% figure relates only to those left AFTER thousands have given up on trying to meet the “Man’s” ( the business Man’s) demands.
Like the governors, the “Dispatch” seems more interested in selling the agenda than in solving the problem.
Oh yeah, one more thing: when will I see the editorial criticizing legislators, who have “a duty to uphold the state’s laws and not make a mockery of them,” for ignoring the legal order of the Ohio Supreme Court? And how about criticizing the court for its craven refusal to enforce its own order?
Or does the vaunted notion of “a Nation of Laws!!” apply only to the little people, easy targets like John and George?
Yours - Uke Man