April 19, 2011 — Recently, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges visited the Lassen Union High School District schools of which there are three, and reported on the school’s friendliness and facilities, but it also said Lassen High School needed to focus more on state standards.
Teachers often hand out a syllabus at the beginning of the school year listing how they will follow the state standards so not only the student but also the parents know what the objectives are. From looking at some of the outlines there is not much wiggle room for spontaneous teaching that comes from daily news events. Swaying from the state curriculum could take the class off course.
Within the school’s 180-day calendar, teachers also have to prepare students for the standardized test (STAR test) that measures how well the students and school are doing when put up against the other schools in the state. Schools often set aside several weeks to prepare students for the test so the scores come out better. The goal is to have students score in the above basic or proficient areas in areas such as English-language arts and math.
On top of that high schools must prepare students to pass the English and math portions of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and a senior project of some type.
Recently, one school board president suggested teachers need to concentrate curriculum on making sure students were prepared for the STAR test at the expense of all other learning.
We would like to suggest that the schools take advantage of all aspects of learning tools made available to them. Recently, Matthew Gollup, an award-winning writer, visited Lassen County and told the students to read, read and read. He also told teachers and parents to read to the children. He said the more words we learn the more intelligent we can become and the more intelligent we become the more possibilities are open to us including additional schooling and high paying careers.
State standards and standardized tests should be used as a guide when building classroom curriculum, but teachers need to have the ability to know the students and parents and use teachable moments and local opportunities to enhance education rather than using a one-size fits all formula. With that it was our pleasure to publish the Lassen County Office of Education Science Fair results and this week we are publishing the education office’s Lit Jam results.
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