To say that we, like most folks, were disappointed in the recent Newton School System AYP scores would be an understatement.
The system showed improvements, but failed overall, for a second year. This is frustrating on several levels. For one, we are tired of Newton schools being behind the eight ball as far as federal testing is involved. There’s too much emphasis on teaching to the test in our schools and in public schools across the nation.
Long ago, we expected our school systems simply to educate our children, providing a solid education in reading, writing and arithmetic. But since the ’70s, we’ve been asking our schools to serve as food coordinators, medical advisers or simply as babysitters.
We have allowed school administrations across the country to create bureaucracy after bureaucracy in providing these services and to add more rules and layers of total control over our children’s lives.
Now, extraneous programs are being cut to the bone and the layers of fat are being trimmed. Just maybe after we get to that level, we can begin worrying about simply educating our children again.
In spite of the AYP results, we totally support Dr. Mathews in his efforts to streamline the Newton County School System and to develop an education model that will not only raise our students’ scores but will also help us attract industry to our county.
Dr. Mathews told us in a meeting last year when he first came to Newton County that his program would take up to five years to produce change. We see enough good things happening in our schools that we take him at his word.