Feel-Good Educational Policies

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Education is so important to our children’s success that our educational leaders must to get back to primarily teaching our students reading, writing and arithmetic, as opposed to cuddling them and setting them up for failure.

Let me preface this article by saying I have great respect for our principals and teachers in our county. I have met many of them and they are doing an outstanding job given the challenges facing them. I believe the real issue is with the educational policymakers on Riva Road in Annapolis.

Over the past year, several examples jump out to me as concerning. We have educational leaders focusing more on positive, feel-good educational experiences over preparing our students to be well-equipped to handle the real world and work environment.

Eliminating Class Ranking

Out of fear that some people may have hurt feelings, the policymakers are getting rid of class ranking. Just for clarity, removing class ranking does not change the facts but merely hides the facts.

For those who work extremely hard, their ranking will be withheld from others who use that information for scholarships, etc. For those who are not doing well, the ranking comparisons are just ignored so the student undeservingly feels good about his or her lack of achievements. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t care about how you feel, nor do they give out participation awards. Businesses want hardworking, prepared employees.

Commencement Speakers

Historically, the valedictorian speech was given by the student with the highest academic achievements from his or her class. Now, the selection process is supposedly done with more compassion, and from a culturally sensitive standpoint. The speech honor is now chosen by the school, based on other factors. They argue that the student with the highest GPA is not as important as considering the challenges of poverty and peer pressure, how popular the student is among the teachers, or having an acceptable draft speech or political views, etc.

Eliminate Graduation Gown Colors

The policymakers are working to eliminate any gender distinction in graduation gown colors for boys and girls, because it might offend some student who isn’t sure of his or her gender identity. Therefore, all students will wear the same color gown.

Patriotism Under Attack

Finally, it seems a handful of students can threaten the celebration of patriotism in our schools, because they would be offended by the celebration of our country’s red, white and blue colors. When patriotism is attacked, we do not need to retreat and suggest canceling events that promote our patriotism. There are proper ways to protest, but we cannot cater to every whim out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings. That is a dangerous road to travel down.

I appreciate and have great respect for the principal who eventually worked through the issue and moved forward with the event. America is the greatest nation on earth, and many brave men and women have died for our freedoms. These freedoms are worth protecting and valuing, even if some do not value them.

Our educational policymakers should focus more on educating our students instead of walking on eggshells worrying about who will be offended next.

We have a school board election this upcoming year, so get to know your candidates, as they set much of this policy.

If I can be of any assistance, or you have any feedback, please contact me at bryan.simonaire@senate.state.md.us or call my office at 410-841-3658.

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