My friend Beccy Tanner did an interesting article in the Wichita Eagle about Healy High School.  It is the story of a town who’s school has been the centerpiece of the community it’s entire life.  There are points brought out in the story that hold the key to our rural education in this state.  It may also hold the key to many of the problems that plague education in the state in general.  How is that extracted is the big question.

     Attitude may be.  We have a fascination with size.  What is always the object of contention is money.  Yet more and more money has been thrown at the problem and there still seems to be no solutions, only political compromises. Maybe it is time to throw the politics out of the equation and look at what works.  There seems to be more controversy over what works than what doesn’t.

     Is it not a coincidence that the top ACT scores are being achieved by home-schoolers?  Is it environment, curriculum, educational material, attitude, personalized attention and progress, or flexibility?  Maybe it is all of this.  What we do know is that individual attention and smaller class size is proven to be better.  Yet as a society we are pushed to make everything bigger.  Bus the kids over an hour away because we can keep a bigger school going in that location.  This seems to be a bit mad.

     I had challenged my readers a couple years ago that hard choices were going to be needed.  Have I been proven wrong?  Is the need for a Six figure superintendent a necessary item for a district of one, two, or three hundred kids?  As a school board are members really in the loop of the technology that expands opportunities for kids even in isolated rural areas?  Many of the school board members I have known over the years have let the administrators pretty much have their way in direction because it is tough to even get up to speed on the changes going on today.

     It is even hard for those who live day to day running the schools to keep up on what is available out there.  Kids are so tech savvy that it is not unusual for a student to be so far ahead of the teacher as to be doing the teaching in reverse.

     Don’t feel alone if you are being left behind by today’s techy world.  I am overwhelmed on a daily basis using this confuser and the capabilities it has is way beyond my knowledge.  I have to get help for some things so basic it makes the tech’s shake their head.

     Here is a news flash for you.  Football is not necessary to have in school.  Nice yes, a necessity no.  Town after town has had it’s heart and soul ripped out by losing their schools and the barometer for this is whether they can field a team or not.  I am sorry but are the kids being taught to exist and thrive in this world today?  Are you going to be able to instill your values in your kids when you bus them off to be with hundreds of other kids and become disconnected to the education process?

     I watched a story of one of the last one room school houses that are in operation in a neighboring state the other day.  Some would think this backward.  I do not.  There is no kid that is not able to be reached economically with a good education.  If you do not believe so you are being manipulated by a system that has no accountability left.  The larger schools are mass producing students and you see the results when you go to a fast food place and the attendee cannot make change and does not know that a half dozen chicken nuggets are the same as six.

     I believe that good teachers need to be paid as good a salary as they can earn.  Yet some slide inadequately educated kids through and hope that the next teacher is able to do the job.

     Great teachers are remembered and that is maybe why you are reading what I am saying.  I had some great teachers, and I had some really bad teachers.  There is a reason that when a conversation on math is started I start getting headaches and my head starts spinning.

     It is time that the educational system starts looking at what works, what and who don’t, and try to reinvent this thing called education.

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