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Your Opinion: Two public high schools favored

Your Opinion: Two public high schools favored

February 12th, 2013 by Karen Terkelsen, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

There are two issues I would like to address in the matter of one high school vs. two high schools for Jefferson City.

First, there is the matter of the proposed academy school. I don't believe the academies would meet the needs of our students. There is more to know and learn now than ever before. Paradoxically, the more there is to know, the more we need to get back to basics: reading, writing, "rimetic,' history, science, research, including using books, and computer technology.

I don't believe that an academy school's curriculum design could keep up with rapid changes in jobs or other areas. Sophomores are enrolled in a specific program set on a rigid track. There are many sophomores who don't know what they want to do or be, and aren't even aware of the options that are and will be out there in four years when they graduate. If they are solid in the basics, they will be able to go any direction they choose. The world will teach them the rest. It is nice to be able to use a scientific calculator, but there is something to be said for actually knowing the times tables.

Second, how do we answer the question, "Which is more important to the children, families, and citizens of Jefferson City - academics or sports?" For years the answer has been sports.

Maybe it's time to change the answer to academics and we should refurbish the existing high school and build another one in order to have two smaller schools wherein more students will have opportunities to participate in various activities.

There would be two teams in every sport giving more athletes a chance to play. Two high schools would better address the issue of future enrollment growth.

If the district decides on the one academy school we will be following some educational fad that will soon go out of favor and become obsolete; and in a few years the school will be overcrowded. Our students will be housed in an outdated facility. (Remember team-teaching and open-pods?) But, we will still have just one football team and one basketball team for Jefferson City. If the answer is still sports all of this effort will have been an exercise in futility and we will be no better off than we are now.

This issue will be on the ballot in April. I, for one, will be voting to two high schools; smaller student bodies, more opportunities, a more traditional curriculum, easier parking, and less expense.