I am not sure, but there appears to be something amiss with the AIMS testing.
If it is true, and the test results indicate a 90-percent failure rate on the part of last year's sophomores, we are faced with the proposition that either our children are not receiving an adequate education or the testing process is flawed.
I am not an educator or somebody trained to evaluate tests, but what I do know is that even our small school district has produced physicians, engineers, lawyers, dentists, homemakers, business owners, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, building officials, contractors, office workers, grocery store managers, reporters and editors, and most importantly, good parents and grandparents.
I have a recommendation: Let people from several different walks of life, who are functioning in life today, take the test. We can then evaluate the relevancy of the test to real-life conditions.
High school is supposed to be a preparatory education. This preparation is not just for post-secondary education, it is also designed to provide students with some basic information. Most of our students will go on to community colleges, go to work in their chosen fields, go to technical schools and some will go to four-year universities. Some will even go to graduate schools.
The bottom line is that most of our students will do just fine in life.
We Americans have to stop berating ourselves. We have the best country in the world, the strongest military and the highest standard of living. The thought that every person graduating from high school will need advanced math skills is not realistic.
Do we believe that we will no longer have engineers or accountants that will be trained to apply higher mathematical problem solving to future problems?
A student's high school years should allow time for young adults to experience many things that will help them be productive adults. Most high school administrators will tell you that the students who are involved in extra-curricular activities in school have a tendency to do better when they enter into the real world.
I believe this is because they experience things such as leadership, commitment, teamwork, loyalty, working through adversity, time management, communication, service, the ability to make and live with a decision and much more.
We have been told that the future will require higher order mathematical skills in order for today's students to compete.
The best and most valued employees that I have, have shown through performance that they can and do work as a team, that they can make decisions, that they have high standards and they can manage themselves -- basically the same traits that kids can learn by playing in the band or on the field or in a theater production.
Many of these new requirements for graduation will force high school students to choose between working after-school jobs, participating in extra-curricular activities, participating in family activities or laboring many hours on subject matter that most students will never use.
We are about to dramatically change the largest government-run system in the state, and I am not sure that the average person understands this. The thought that 90 percent of our students failed this test should concern all of us. A 90-percent failure in any system is a sign of a flawed process.