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Getting schooled



Clifton Adcock's article about State Superintendent-elect Janet Barresi ("'Super' intentions," Nov. 24, Gazette) unwittingly illustrates the difficulty our state and the nation face when we appoint ideologues lacking in knowledge and experience of how schools actually function to run them.

Tracy McDaniel, principal at KIPP Reach in Oklahoma City is quoted: "Social promotion is a killer." Barresi herself indicates that she'll work with the Legislature to end social promotion.

This, like all criticisms of public education, sounds good to frustrated patrons who believe that lazy and corrupt officials are negligently moving illiterate students through the public system. It ignores the reality that students who are retained are more, not less, likely to drop out. One year of retention can produce a positive result, but with two years of retention you typically have a humiliated " and still illiterate " kid who is shaving in the sixth grade and likely functioning as a sexual predator.

I've been teaching for 30 years now, and I've heard a lot of blowhard talk about getting rid of the lousy teachers getting in some good ones. I've never worried too much about it because I've not noticed anybody standing in line at take my job. I'd like to see some of these talkers spend a few weeks in the schools before they open their big mouths.

"Mack Paul

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