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Board of Ed should have listened to teachers

April 20, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

The recent decision by the Jefferson County Board of Education to deny a request for an exam waiver for Jefferson High students at the end of the second semester was made against the desires of the staff of the school. The faculty voted overwhelmingly to make the request because they recognized that our students are "over-tested." Likewise, the state Board of Education recognizes the excessive testing

Apparently the Board members do not feel that is the case.

As students head back from spring break this week, they are preparing for standardized tests which be followed by more standardized tests. The guidance counselors will spend the majority of their time administering these which will leave little time to actually counsel students. Teachers will be focused on "teaching to the test" which doesn't do much service to our students.

They then will have to create and deliver a final exam on material that is taught quickly and often inefficiently. Rather that focusing on one more test, the Board should have allowed the waiver to go through so that at least some classroom time can be spent on actually achieving results in teaching that is not focused on a test.

The argument that Washington High didn't seek a waiver; therefore consistency should be followed for both schools is not a sound basis. The waiver policy allows each school to request a waiver, not each county. For the Board of Education to close a blind eye to the request of their staff, administrators, students and parents shows a lack of connection to individual schools.

We would strongly suggest that the Board revisit its decision and grant the waiver to Jefferson High so that students can focus on learning for the sake of learning rather than learning for one more test. We owe it to our children to provide an education; not just put another exam or standardized test in front of them. We owe it to our teachers to allow them to teach something they chose to do. We owe it to our guidance officials to allow them some time to actually use their degrees in guidance and guide our children toward the correct educational path.

Break the mold formed by testing and allow the school to move ahead in a manner that is most educationally beneficial. It's not too late to change the vote.

 
 
 

 

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