Our View: Expecting more of our students

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Editorial Board, August through December 2010

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Rich Lowe, community representative
  • Sue Birch, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

A committee at Steamboat Springs High School has proposed raising the bar for students, and that’s a great idea.

The curriculum committee has suggested increasing the number of credits required for graduation from 23 to 25. The proposed changes include the addition of 0.5 credits in math, 0.5 credits of personal financial literacy and 1 credit of world languages. The number of language arts credits would remain at 4, but 1 world literature credit requirement would be added.

This change is a logical step for several reasons.

It makes sense to align Steamboat with other public schools in the area — Hayden High School, Moffat County High School and Soroco High School each require 25 credits. Gunnison Watershed School District re­­quires 26 credits, and it would be a good idea for Steamboat to consider raising the bar even more if the first change is successful.

Additionally, American youths are going to have to compete in a global economy. The curriculum committee’s decision to add world languages and world literature indicates its understanding of the importance of an education that expands beyond our backyard. And as the nation struggles through this recession, it’s clear that it’s never been more important for our society to have high expectations and standards for education.

The recession also is a good reminder of the importance of financial literacy, another component of the proposed changes. Personal finance becomes more bewildering all the time, and our children should be graduating from high school with an understanding of how to balance a checkbook and avoid credit card debt, for example. That education comes from outside the classroom, as well, but a required personal finance course is a great start.

Finally, the 25-credit requirement could mean a change in attitude for high school seniors. By the second semester senior year, college acceptance letters have arrived and diplomas are practically within reach. Requiring additional meaningful courses will help keep students engaged throughout their high school career, further preparing college-bound students for the coursework they’ll encounter and reminding those who plan to enter the work force that their hard work will continue to pay off.

The Steamboat Springs community praises athletic achievements in its youths, and we need to make sure we’re always extending that praise to academic achievements.

Students at Steamboat Springs High School get an excellent education from hardworking teachers and staff members. We know that if the new requirements are approved, those teachers will work with students to build a framework that allows them to succeed. Assistant Principal Marty Lamansky said Tuesday that he didn’t know what the impacts will be to staffing at the high school, but he expects them to be minimal because most students (an average of 84 percent in the past three graduating classes) already earn at least 25 credits. With such a talented group of caring educators, the district has every reason to proceed with the suggested changes.

To learn more about the proposal or to weigh in, attend a presentation from 6 to 7 tonight at the high school commons area.

Comments

bigfatdog 3 years, 10 months ago

Our education system is in need of a complete overhaul!! The system teaches to the lowest denominator. It is destroying this country and detrimental to the youth of today. The focus has been for no child left behind and special needs programs but it is long over due to bring academic competition and high standards back. Let the private sector respond to the special needs as the government does not have the financial capabilities any more. Sure hope NPR doesn't fire me for saying the obvious!!!!

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housepoor 3 years, 10 months ago

the private sector respond to special needs??? i can see them lining up now

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mavis 3 years, 10 months ago

maybe there is something I missed but I don't think I would call it raising the bar.... I would think more then .5 of a class should be required in personal finance.... should be econ AND personal finance... bigfatdog... the focus has NOT been on special needs and that support is actually drastically decreasing.... but I would COMPLETELY agree the bar MUST be raised and we are in need of some drastic changes in Education.... but you also have to start holding parents accountable for something... maybe kids should be required to know the alphabet BEFORE kindergarden like the GOOD ol Days

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