By: Joe Messina (retired educator)
There are many issues in education. The headlines are full of them. Quite frankly, I'm concerned about our stressed out students and teachers and doing what's best so that every student gets a chance to reach their highest potential.
I want every teacher to use their skills in the most effective way to help our most precious asset. If we really want students to achieve, then let's give them a reason to push themselves.
Here's a suggestion. Give end of course tests right before spring break. Anyone who is a junior or senior in high school, who makes a satisfactory score, gets an early start on summer break. They can use this rewarded time to work, take courses online, volunteer in the community or tutor those still in school.
Many students learn quicker when tutored by fellow students. Sometimes they just talk their lingo. This frees up teachers to spend their valuable time with the students who need it most and should go a long way toward helping close the achievement gap.
This would also cut class size and benefit everyone. And if it works, it could be tweaked and expanded for all high school students.
Yes, I know there are some details to work out, like the state law on the mandatory classroom days. But it just might be worth it if it makes the school day more valuable, rather than just time served in class.