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As a citizen of this community, I have found the discussions concerning the Fulton Public Schools to be most interesting. I read Dr. Fessler's editorial to the paper and the school system's reply to her editorial, and I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Fessler's view. It is part of the school's job to teach students to be responsible for their work, so I do not understand letting a student make up homework after he has already taken a test or six weeks after the fact just so he can pass. What does he learn from that? I do not even understand, under those circumstances, why teachers even grade the homework. Why not just grade the tests? I do not understand in classes like mathematics, science, foreign languages, and other such classes how this practice can work when the next step is relative to learning the previous concept. This is not life in the real world. Bosses hold workers responsible to get their work completed on time, not six weeks after the fact, and if the worker is irresponsible and can not do the work on time, then he is fired; simple formula, produce or be gone. This is not rocket science. Neither do I understand why there is no attendance policy. Why would a student be tardy and risk a detention after school when he can just be absent, make up his work, and have no detentions. How does that teach students to be responsible for their actions? I do believe that in the real world, bosses expect their workers to be at work and to be on time. If those two things can not be met, then the worker is gone. There are few if any second chances under those circumstances.
I am glad to see that the Fulton School System is trying to raise the graduation rate as it needs to. I did a little research and discovered on the DESE site that in 2003 Fulton had an 82% graduation rate. Advocator was in error about the graduation rate being 81% in 2006; it was in 2007 that the graduation rate was right at 81%, then in 2010 it was 78%, then the nosedive to 73% in 2011. So it is good to see the graduation rate climb back to almost where it was in 2010. But at what price? Any school can raise the graduation rates if it lowers its expectations of student accountability. When that occurs, the diploma means nothing and students might as well get their diplomas online from Phoenix High, just pay the price and stay home, or better yet, get a job and go to work if he can make it in and if he can be there on time. I feel confident that the state of Missouri is behind all this push to higher graduation percentages, but then they should be since one study placed Missouri 47th nationally in education.
I wonder what the graduation rate would be if a person had to have a diploma in order to get a driver's license.
My, oh, my, has Advocator touched a nerve? Best I remember people have the freedom of speech in this society, but perhaps that is not true for the Fulton Public School System. I fail to see how Advocator's question about the Intervention Program is negative. Granted it may not have belonged with teacher's salaries, but in a broad sense it does relate to the school system. He asked a responsible question. Your negative harangue to his question leads this reader to surmise that something must have gone awry in the Intervention Program that is not known to the public. Did it?
As taxpayers we have the right and the duty to question any system that is supported by our dollars, and the recipient(s) of those monies are answerable to the public whom they serve. It is this reader's observation that when a simple question is asked about a school program, a polite response would provide an opportunity to showcase a positive educational result such as higher MAP test scores, better teacher/student relationships, higher graduation rates, but this did not happen, and this reader now questions the effectiveness of the Intervention Program.
From what I have read in the local newspapers over the last two or three years, I, too, have questions. There have been numerous firings of personnel, the alternative school was closed, the drop out rate continues to be a problem, and a respected teacher "retires" in mid-year.
No wonder the taxpayers are skeptical. After all "attitude reflects leadership," and in this school system, perhaps the leadership is the elephant in the middle of the table. Most people see it, but avoid looking at it.
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