The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Educational accountability with vote for Taber

Ron Taber In July of 1993, our state legislators approved HB1209 as their answer to the growing concern over the decline of our public education system. HB1209, also known as our state education reform act, developed four state learning goals which were intended to raise standards and student achievement.
   HB1209 also brought forth an unelected Commission of Student Learning (CSL) to develop these standards based on the state's learning goals, along with creating an assessment system to measure whether the students are achieving the goals.
   Since that time, the CSL has developed the "Essential Academic Learning Requirements" for the first two goals. Here's an example of a requirement for geography: "The student identifies, compares, and assesses the impact of cultures on individuals, groups, and society." To determine if the student has met or developed to this standard, there are three benchmark levels as related to grades 4-5, 7-8, and 10th. Here's an example of the benchmark for 4th-5th grades for that requirement of geography: "Describe the unique features of his or her nuclear and extended families."
   Are you wondering what does describing one's family have to do with geography, and how will it bring forth "higher standards" or "increase academic achievement" in geography?
   I am extremely discouraged with the work of the CSL, which developed vague standards and benchmarks that are unrelated to the subjects. These methods will not raise the standards that parents and taxpayers--and especially the children--deserve. They will lower the standards.
   This commission was under the leadership of Terry Bergeson, who is a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ms. Bergeson had a unique opportunity with funds and resources to bring forth true accountability by developing higher standards, yet our children are left with worthless, yet very expensive, idiotic standards that will do very little to improve the education system.
   This is our opportunity to assess her work and demand accountability for our children's education with a vote for Dr. Ron Taber. Our children's education is suffering from the lack of substance needed for real education reform.

Debra Kolrud, Monroe