Thursday, June 2, 2016

School: Past, Present, Future

The HCPSS PR machine turned out a nice piece on four River Hill High School grads who share a birthday. The Scotts, who are quadruplets, have each been active in the music department and so my husband has worked with all of them. The Howard County Times ran a feature story about them today, as well. As I looked over the HCPSS story, I noted that arts education played a big role in their high school experience and preparation for college. Between the four of them they mention choral singing, acapella singing, music technology, theatre, and dance.

I think it's a mistake to talk about students in a way that separates "academics" (the hard stuff) from "activities" (the soft stuff). Students are motivated most of all by their passions, and the joy and energy drawn from those inform, feed, and sustain everything else. Pushing students to load up on extra "academic" classes, multiple AP's, etc, at the expense of courses and activities that fuel their passions does not make them "college and career ready." In fact, quite the opposite. It's merely an exercise in ignoring their own choices and not allowing them to take the risks necessary for self-discovery and personal growth.

While the Scotts and their family are looking back on their years in the Howard County Schools, the Howard County Times editorial board minces no words in describing where HCPSS is right now in relation to the budget and the County Council.

Rather than welcoming another set of eyes during a contentious budget season – this year, the county executive didn’t roll over and grant the entirety of the superintendent’s record budget request – the school board said there are routine and regular audits aplenty from the state and an independent outsider.
Reading between the lines, the school board leader’s message was worthy of a New York tabloid headline: “Drop dead county council”
There was a time when the HoCoTimes would not have come close to such an editorial. It's been a long, harrowing journey from the days when the paper granted the school system every professional courtesy and extended to them the benefit of the doubt, time and again. This editorial was earned. The same people who dismissed and disrespected ordinary citizens did the same with the local press. And they, as professional journalists, are more than equal to the task of allowing the light of day to fall on the goings-on out on Route 108, for the benefit of their readers.
The Sun's motto is "Light for All," and they shine it well.
As to the future: on Saturday morning you can do something to help children far away from Howard County have the opportunity to go to school. This year's Annual Flea Market at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church is raising funds to send children to school in Ghana, Liberia, and Palestine. There will also be a bake table where you can purchase snacks and drinks to keep your energy up while you shop. There are amazing bargains every year. I've never walked away without having fun and finding something I truly wanted, at a great price. Please stop by and support education for those who wouldn't have this opportunity without our help.
Since it's graduation season, a pithy quote:
The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change. -- Carl Rogers

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