• 72°

It takes more than schools to

prepare children for the future

It was a mixed bag for the Troy City School System, as was expected when the Alabama Department of Education released its annual report card rating each school system in the state.

As is always the case, some scores were up while others were down. Some stabilized while others bounced from one extreme to the other.

But one thing is clear from reading the report. While the school system is doing an admirable job of educating its students, there is some definite room for improvement. Even school officials agree on that one.

That said, we don’t aim to criticize the school system for the report card. While the news wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad either. What we propose is for the community to get behind the school and help administrators see to it that the scores we see today are lower than the scores we will see in the years to come.

There is a lot of information contained in the report, but there are two things that are particularly noteworthy. The first is that the school system shows a high number of seniors passing the state’s exit exam, which is good news for the school system. The second thing is that the school’s ACT average score falls well below the state average.

As is the case with a coach, administrators can’t rise above the level of talent they have to work with. In a best case scenario, they can tap into the potential and help their players and students live up to their highest level of ability. And that will vary from year to year, and from student to student.

Still, with access to information higher than it has ever been and with children being more technologically advanced at younger ages than ever, the learning curve should be moving steadily upward. But it all has to start at home.

Parents will have to work with their children at home to give the child access to information and ideas outside a learning environment to instill in the child the importance of education. Parents must do this at home by challenging their children to learn more, to experience more, to see more and to read more.

These things, as studies show, lead to a greater capacity for learning when they are done with children at younger ages.

It can’t be the school system’s responsibility alone to educate our children to be the leaders of tomorrow. It is our responsibility as parents, role models, businesspeople and neighbors to do our part.

As we see technology open the world to our students, we are not, as a whole, watching our children get smarter. Perhaps emphasis on technology has taken away from the age-old studies in math, science, reading and writing. These basics, like it or not, are vital to existing in today’s world. As more information is routed to more people, the world will demand that people be better communicators – better writers. It will also demand better mathematics to design technology, stronger science to make the tools of communication work and better thinking and problem-solving skills.

These are what the basics are all about.

Talk to the administrators at Troy City School System. Talk to the teachers who serve your children and see what you can do at home to help your child or children learn more.

Remember, it takes more than teachers, televisions and computers to educate children.

Dec. 6, 1999 11 PM