Answers to school issues

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, July 01, 2004

I've seen multiple articles in the paper that deal with the current state of our schools here in Juneau. Natives and their dropout rate, the cost of running the district and racism seem to be hot issues these days.

It's obviously apparent that the schools are at a loss in looking for an answer to the dropout rate. Counseling always seems to be the answer, but high school students want to take control of their lives; throwing in another adult telling them what they need will not solve your problem. Maybe we should look at other districts across the nation and learn from their past experiences, both good and bad.

Take Boston for example. They are currently looking at plans to rewrite the very fundamentals of high school education. The idea includes allowing students to move at their own pace and graduate in three to five years. Instead of making students who flunk repeat an entire year, they just place them in the classes they failed and allow them to continue in the courses they passed. Allowing students to set the pace of their education can be both motivating for the students and a cost savings for the district.

Not only is the job of the school to teach them the basic of education but also it should be a stepping stone into adulthood. Teaching responsibility, a sense of individuality and placing reasonable adults into society is also a function. Let us not forget that.

Or how about Texas? They have a school district tax that pays for the schools. People will have to pay a little more in taxes, but our children's educations are not free by any means and we need to foot whatever bill we need to educate the young minds of this city. There are also no problems with racism, because they do not segregate the students. Houston has quite a diverse population and I can't remember a single issue of racism while in school. Every student is treated the same, regardless. They keep race out of the schools as we should here in Juneau. There are only two types of people at JDHS - students and teachers - nothing more.

Ben Madison


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