NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Read to succeed

Robert Shoemaker thinks the "Governor's education reforms adequate," May 27, 2005
The recent Other Voices column titled "Plan won't improve education" by Shane Valdez calls for some serious rebuttal.

He is responding to our Governor's statement that our education system is facing a crisis because a growing number of students are failing and almost a third of them are not graduating from high school. This is not a new problem. It is an old and continuing problem. Unfortunately, our legislators and school administrators have, for many years, tried to fix it by throwing more and more money at it. Unfortunately, again, most of the money was spent on pop courses instead of English, mathematics and sciences and, as a result, many graduates of our high schools and colleges cannot read, write and express themselves so they can successfully compete in our modern day world.

I agree with Mr. Shoemaker, the Governor is on the right track for some accountability in our schools. I over heard a upsetting comment and one of our local museums last week. “I am concerned that many fourth graders who come in cannot read,” said the curator, “They mouth the words, but cannot understand what they are reading.” What a disturbing thought, our local schools are rated second in the state, just behind Marin County.

One of the seminal events in my life, was repeating the third grade. At the beginning of my second try at third grade, Mrs. Warnike took me in the closet, at the back of the room. I can not remember her exact words, but her message was clear. If you do not apply yourself this year, you will be back in my class again next year. You are not going onto the fourth grade until you learn to read. No social promotion for me.

Successfully completing my second attempt at the third grade, I am an avid reader. I married an avid reader, and we have four daughters who read for the pure joy of curling up in a big chair with an interesting book. If it had not been for Mrs. Warnike, where would I be today? Learning to read and comprehend allowed me to succeed, to make my dreams come true. Thanks Mrs. Warnike!

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