No child left behind

Dear Editor:The Nobel Prize in Physics. The MVP at the Super Bowl. The Oscar for Best Director. These are among the many awards I have never won. I am not an educator either. I am, however, an involved parent with two children in Middle and High School who is very concerned with the "No child left behind" program and how it affects students and school districts. I consider it a "noble experiment" and like Prohibition, it should be repealed. Here is why. The government is acting on the basis that all children are equal and hence they all should achieve grade level proficiency in Math and Reading . This is a noble an impractical goal because it ignores the fact that some children are less equal than others and it sacrifices the high achievers to accommodate all students under the least common denominator in academic performance. I have read that China has more Honor students than we have students and that India graduates more engineers than us. I tremble when I think how soon China will start flexing its military might and we as a society are not prepared to deal with the realities of the 21st century. Our school district is engaged in Performance Improvement because it cannot meet a moving target of accomplishments by English Learners and Special Needs children. I propose that those energies should be better spent in identifying and motivating the high achievers towards more advanced education in Engineering and Science. Most of our graduate schools are now populated with foreign students because we have not sold our children in the need and advantages of a solid education in Science and Engineering. President Obama talks about working our way out of our economic malaise through exports. He conveniently ignores the fact that we don't make anything anymore. When I get up in the morning I watch the news on my Samsung TV. I go to work in my Toyota automobile. I answer my calls on my Nokia cellular phone and I make myself a cup of hot tea at work in my Toshiba microwave. I suspect that most people go through a similar situation every day. To regain our lead as an exporting country we need to have something to sell. We need PhD's to come up with new devices, engineers to manage and create the production lines and a work force that has studied something more solid than underwater basket weaving. Our school district, faculty and administrators do a magnificent job in spite of the problems of overcrowded class rooms and bureaucratic interference. I salute their accomplishments. But they also need our help in showing our children that it's "cool" to be a high academic achiever and to motivate them towards academic excellence. I propose a review of our goals and of recognizing the hard work of our teachers with more than a Teacher of the Month award. We should insist in higher pay coupled with greater accountability for our teachers and turn them loose in what they do best and that is teaching to those who want to learn. - Jorge H. Montero, Downey

********** Published: February 26, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 45