Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

August 6, 2013

Local issue visited

(Continued)

When everybody starts agreeing you never get the best solutions. We used to call this the “yeah boss syndrome,” a fast way for the boss to lose their position or job. Although there is almost never an ideal situation; the best boards, management teams and organizations are the ones that function in an open,challenging, trusting atmosphere.

You cannot reach the best decisions without openness and challenge and you cannot have constructive challenge without trust. You should be very worried when everyone starts agreeing because that is when poor decisions get made. “Sailing with the wind” or “going along to get along” will not help in finding the best solutions. This does not mean that decisions should not be supported after the complete airing of various and opposite viewpoints. Certainly they should!

The issue I find most troubling personally is I never hear explanations for the lack of academic achievement and lack of improvement in test scores of 11th graders as measured by the Prairie State Achievement Test and plans for improvement. I think student achievement should trump curved or straight walls design. I think student achievement should be one of the major deciding factors in performance measurement for administration.

I know that I will get a lot of flak from colleagues about not understanding education and they probably have some validity, but shouldn’t the most important consideration be the quality of education the students receive? There is a web-site, SchoolDigger, that tracks and ranks schools in reading, math, science, etc. It tracks individual schools and compares against other schools and state averages.

It did not all happen on the current board and administration’s watch, but ranking 411 out of 669 in 2012 measuring high schools as reported by SchoolDigger is not something to be proud of. Dropping from 58.6 percent in 2003 to 45.8 percent in 2012 in reading as measured by the PSAT is not progress; or math at 44.5 percent in 2003 to 44.6 percent in 2012 and science 50.3 percent in 2003 to 43.1 percent in 2012 with state averages considerably higher is something to be concerned about.

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