Don't go easy on Native students

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2004

Mr. Doll's letter, "Testing Unfair to Natives" dated June 23, makes a great point. Yes, Alaska Natives have rights, equal rights; therefore, because our state of Alaska has decided that these "high-stakes" tests should exist, so they do. Every person takes them. We are equal to those around us; we should stand up and be recognized for it, not back away from it.

After reading the letter, some may get the idea that Natives are trying to hide from those tests, as if we are not good enough. Doll's argument to that was funding in rural communities, instead of complaining about the test; we should do something about the funding. Would you rather the children of Alaska get a decent education and not take that test, or would you rather they get an outstanding education, take the test, be interested in their learning and succeed? That is what this really comes down to.

Those rural schools can get the funding. They have to fight for it. Even then, it isn't just the schools that you need to worry about, it's the students. If they won't stay at school, or pay attention during school, then who do you blame? Do you still blame the school? You also have to think about the things that all teens throughout the country are being exposed to: drugs, alcohol; yes, that affects learning.

I went to school with several kids who dropped out or skipped and then wondered why they were being given less than satisfactory grades. Maybe that is something we should consider. This is no longer a debate. It is already in effect, and it should be. We can't just let anyone walk away with a diploma in Alaska, and we certainly cannot be easier on the Native children; that would imply that we have a disadvantage, and we do not.

Helen A. Hanlon

Jacksonville, Ark.

Juneau-Douglas High School graduate

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