Saturday, July 16, 2016

On education and schools in Lake Worth: Two excerpts from a Letter to the Editor published in The Lake Worth Herald

"Dear Editor of The Lake Worth Herald,

     I think there are a lot of problems with how schools as a whole and our children are tested and lots of ambiguity on what those grades mean in any given year. Year to year comparisons are also suspect when certain qualifying factors are added or deleted. That said, it appears there may be cause to feel hopeful for Lake Worth schools. 
     According to the Florida Dept. of Education for the school year just ended, Barton, Highland and South Grade Elementary Schools improved from a D to a C and North Grade Elementary, Lake Worth Middle and Lake Worth High remained unchanged with a C.
     So where’s the hope in all the ambiguity and the mediocrity implied by our local schools coming in with a solid C? Is a slight improvement or simply maintaining an average rating enough to feel hopeful about? Those are essay questions, boys and girls, and here’s my answer: Palm Beach County is one of the largest school districts in the State of Florida. It is an unfathomably cumbersome bureaucracy. It’s also the governing body of how our children and our teachers spend most of their waking hours - so it matters and yet it doesn’t. That little ‘yet’ is where I find reason to hope."

[and. . .]

     "I see civic groups donating dictionaries and raising scholarship funds. I see Elected's taking turns reading to classrooms and mentoring students. I see incredibly innovative early education programs at our Public Library with sign up sheets that run two or three pages long. I see businesses donating old computers and volunteers re-booting them to serve anew. 
     I see Little Free Libraries springing up everywhere with children’s books flying out faster than the speed of love. I see a Community that stands with our teachers pushing past the frustration, the bureaucracy and the endless, pointless testing.
     The Florida Department of Education has handed us a report card that says Lake Worth is average. They’re wrong and the grown-ups around here are not signing it. This is a Community so outstandingly well and far above average in their commitment to education. I am hopeful and I’m proud to call Lake Worth my home.
     Pencils down. 

     Mary Lindsey
     Lake Worth"