We enthusiastically agree with an Imperial County Office of Education official who commended local school districts this weekend for keeping the Academic Decathlon funded in such an inhospitable climate of deep cuts to school budgets.
It seems as though programs meant to reach the lowest performers are some of the last to get cut. The programs for the highest achievers never seem as safe from the cost-cutting ax. The justification in some cases is, those achieving and doing well in public school will do so no matter the financial state of the affairs of a school or a district.
That, sadly, is true for the most part, even when the proof is anecdotal at best. Intelligent and driven students, most often, are byproducts of homes in which the parents are driven and involved. And often, the opposite is just as true.
Programs to raise standardized test scores, to get more children to go to college, to promote good study habits and raise achievement where achievement had previously not been an emphasis are the programs fought for the hardest. In many ways, that is the right thing to do, because these are students who will often fall through the cracks of society and the educational system.
But what about the rewards and the kudos for the students who bring academic prestige to their schools and districts through harnessing that already considerable intelligence, those already seasoned study habits?
Academic Decathlon is one such program, among a few that include mock trial. This past weekend, students from Central Union High, Southwest and Imperial high schools took part in the ICOE’s Academic Decathlon to earn a spot to represent the county on the state level. These are teenagers who have spent many hours outside of the classroom cramming facts and honing the skill of total recall that would put couch-bound “Jeopardy” aficionados to shame.
These are the high achievers putting their abilities to the ultimate test, and they represent our county well, by showing how good our public education system is, how the hundreds of local teachers and the dozens of schools are still doing great things despite limited funding and means that shrink more with each passing school year.
It’s nice to see the schools still funding Academic Decathlon and the Office of Education continuing to facilitate this achievement, providing the launching pad to statewide success.
Nice to see the high achievers not left out in the budget crunch.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
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