Free tutoring program good news

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The news that S.P. Morton Elementary has recently enrolled 65 students from low-income families into a federally funded after-school tutoring program is a positive development for a school division that, despite the efforts of many dedicated and qualified teachers, parents and administrators, has struggled to meet minimum testing standards and graduation rates.

The new program won’t single-handedly fix the problem of poor performance or improve graduation rates, but it’s a start.

Quality early childhood education determines whether a student will be successful in later grades and later in life. As a community, we should be placing more attention on the resources available to students in the lower grades, not just expressing concern over artificially inflating high school grades to improve a lagging graduation rate.

Having students who manage to graduate from high school but who are simply unprepared to contribute constructively to the local community serves no one’s best interest. Shuffling children through the system for no other reason than to say we were successful in raising our graduation rate does a disservice to everyone involved.

Improving the quality of education, and therefore the quality of students, produced by our schools needs to be a top priority. But it will take much more than an after school-tutoring program. It will take the collective efforts of parents, students, teachers and the business community.

There are many opportunities for concerned citizens to get involved with our schools. In-school reading programs, child mentoring programs and the like are available. We encourage you to get involved.