Letter: Making Education Focused and Real

To the Editor:

I applaud Jim Wilson’s recent letter (“Get Students Engaged,” Oct. 29) in which he urged adults to follow a high school student around for a couple of days and witness the boredom of students and the lack of curriculum relevancy. I agree with him that no amount of top-down reform will address this problem, and, despite teachers’ best efforts, students in our high schools remain uninterested and disengaged.

However, if that same adult were to follow around a high school student who attends one of Vermont’s 16 technical centers, they would witness a completely different day.

High school students who attend tech centers have the time in their day to delve deeply into a discipline, follow their passion, and become fully engaged in their learning. No one studying roof design, hybrid motors or wilderness-rescue techniques, asks, “What is the point of this lesson?” or, “Why are we learning this?”

When education becomes focused and real, it becomes meaningful, and students flourish. They don’t just get an “A” or a “B,” they learn how to do something, and do it well.

Most adults who visit or follow students around at the tech center where I work almost always comment, “I wish they offered that when I was in high school.”

Student engagement, curriculum relevancy and sense of purpose are present in our schools; you just have to look in the right places.

Pat Halpin



Letter: Get Students Engaged

Sunday, October 27, 2013

To the Editor: Diane Ravitch, education scholar and research professor at NYU, spoke recently at Dartmouth. A strong supporter of public education, Ravitch described what she considers to be the many hoaxes in the current reform movement, and argued forcefully that racism and widespread poverty are at the root of the problems in our schools. In her criticism of current …