Editorial

10/6/2012

Many are responsible for good education

Administrators with the Glynn County School System bemoan the fact that the formula for determining high school graduation rates keeps changing. Just recently state school Superintendent John Barge informed them of a third change to the method of figuring diploma rates.

School officials say it is confusing, and no doubt it is. It's hard enough sometimes just following the rules, let alone ones that are frequently being altered, expanded or replaced.

School systems are rightfully sensitive about graduation rates. They are because they are considered a direct reflection on their success or failure, especially to those interested in knowing how many students complete and pass a four-year curriculum. To these people, the rate mirrors the strengths or weaknesses of those in charge and of those standing in front of the classroom.

It's an inaccurate reflection, though. Parents, the home environment, play just as big a role, though no one is grading households. Unfairly, it's always the fault of the school system when a student fails or drops out. It is even though administrators and teachers have absolutely no control over how well or poorly a preteen or teen performs. They can inspire and they can grade achievement or the lack of it, but that is the extent of what they can do.

They are not the parents of students. They are the teachers. Teens are going to do what they want. They could not care less what someone in Atlanta or Washington wants or expects of them. How's the old adage go about "leading a horse to water?" In this case, it's leading preteens and teens to knowledge.

The Glynn County School System, as with any school system, is not a miracle worker. It can put the opportunity out there for all who want to learn and do everything in its limited power to transfer knowledge to willing recipients, regardless of the method used to determine graduation rates.

Federal and state officials can easily enough invent an endless supply of ideas for calculating graduation rates. Too bad these same policy-makers and rule-makers can't invent an endless supply of ideas for educating reluctant subjects.