I agree with the SuperSAC! School is, after all, to engage and prepare students. Doesn't it matter if they want to be there and if they feel that they're getting a good education? I guess it's difficult to say how you're school is doing if it's the only school you've ever attended... but still... school culture matters! If kids want to be in school, then socioeconomic status and parental support will matter less.
ABQ/ OPINION: Students Should Be Given a Voice in Schools' Policy
By Jenna Hagengruber, Team Member, SuperSAC
November 6, 2011
On Oct. 17 a group of students from Albuquerque Public Schools met with the superintendent to discuss the school grading system.
This group is known as SuperSAC, an acronym standing for the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council.
We are a group consisting of two students from each high school in APS chosen to meet with the superintendent once a month to discuss important issues and decisions affecting education from a student's perspective.
One assignment for the students of SuperSAC was to give our schools a grade and to elaborate on why that grade was given. The students took this task very seriously, and during our past two meetings, we shared and discussed our ideas with the superintendent.
As a group of students varying vastly in personality, school, ethnicity and background, we came to some similar conclusions about the way we believe our schools should be graded. These criteria included grading on safety, college preparation, dual enrollment, teacher/administration involvement, parent involvement, attendance and extracurricular activities.
After considering how we would grade our schools, SuperSAC was presented with the Public Education Department's ideas of how they intend to assign grades. As a group, we feel that the PED's point system does not represent the most important aspects about high school.
Test scores, improvement of test scores and graduation rates are all highly relative and change as quickly as students in a class change. Although test scores can play a role in determining the knowledge one student has, testing is not always the most accurate way to determine a student's progress and preparation for the future.
This is due to the fact that students aren't always tested on what they've learned, and also tests often are aimed at a certain group of students rather than testing each student at his or her own level.
- One measure of success in high school that we feel was overlooked by the proposed grading system is extracurricular activities such as athletics, drama, music and JROTC that help create a sense of community within a school. Without activities such as these, myriad students would no longer be motivated to work hard in school, making things such as attendance, graduation rates and test success decrease.
These activities bring individuals together, which helps create a sense of confidence and security within the student population. Furthermore, most activities have strict grade requirements that motivate students to be proactive in their learning, so they can continue to participate in the activity. They also build character, help with time management and are enjoyed by participants.
- As the students of public education, we strongly believe several improvements could be made to the proposed school grading system. When decisions are being made about education, students should be asked for their opinion; when ideas on how to grade schools are being proposed, students' input should be considered; when a decision is being made about a school or a district, students should be involved in the process. As students, we are affected directly by these decisions and should be allowed to have a say in the outcome.
We are proposing that the Public Education Department create a student advisory committee made up of students from across the state that would meet on a regular basis to discuss any plans for education. We do not want to learn about bills and decisions only once they are in effect in our schools. We want to help create them and try to make New Mexico education the best it can be.
We are the students of public education. We are the now, and we are the future.