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Tennessy Elledge (Santa Rosa)

Santa Rosa Press Democrat – 3/18/2004 EDITOR: Does the SAT accurately reflect a student’s potential? How much can be determined about a student’s potential given that he or she has 20-25 minutes to answer 30 questions or more? How does a 25-minute essay establish a student’s writing skills and critical thinking? These are questions circling the pool of juniors and seniors pressured to take the SAT. As a junior myself, I often find myself pondering instances in my future when I will be given less than a minute to work out a math problem. And when would I have exactly 25 minutes to write a rushed and poorly put together essay (excluding the dreaded morning I take the SAT)? How does this prepare me for my future? Along with many of my classmates, I struggle with test taking. Often teachers will tell me that I am a very intelligent and skilled student who shows a lot of potential — but my test scores don’t reflect that. Yes, there are SAT prep classes out there. But when classes are designed to teach students shortcuts, tricks and methods for guessing — what does that say about the test?



Ryan Mcknight (Santa Rosa)

Santa Rosa Press Democrat Letter to the Editor – 3/16/2014 EDITOR: There are many foibles in the American education system. Insufficient funds, dropping test scores and the overall quality of education are just some of them; but what I find particularly flawed is the lack of financial education.

As a high school student, I am taught how to graph sine curves, but not how to balance a checkbook. I am taught how to calculate kinetic and potential energy, but not how to invest my money in a responsible manner. I am taught how to derive the equation of a hyperbola from little given information, but I am not taught the value of a dollar.

School is supposed to prepare you for life, but which seems more valuable: teaching pre-calculus, trigonometry and physics or financial education? 


Chloe Maybrun (Santa Rosa)

Santa Rosa Press Democrat Letter to the Editor – 3/14/2014 EDITOR: A high school junior, I am disconcerted to know that all of my hard work will be minimized by a single SAT score. Despite the College Board’s intention to provide an impartial basis for evaluation, data show a strong correlation of income and test scores; less fortunate students cannot afford the same pricey prep courses and private tutors that wealthier students take for granted. That said, the SAT itself is lacking fundamentally in structure. Consider this: Is sitting in a crowded classroom for hours on end completing a Scantron truly the best method of predicting college success? Does one high-stakes test have the ability to measure a student’s potential? The answer is no. In fact, extensive studies have proven otherwise. William C. Hiss, the principal investigator of the matter and a former director of admissions for Bates College, argues that high school grades along with the rigor of classes taken are far better tools for predicting college success than any standardized test. Success is dependent on dedication. This quality, a set of bubbles will never measure.


By: Ashley West

Santa Rosa Press Democrat 3/7/2014
EDITOR: When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. When I answer the painfully common question “What are your plans after high school?” I am rarely given encouragement. More often, the interrogator tries to find some justification for what they perceive as my ignorance. “There are so many jobs,” they say, when what they mean is, “Don’t teach. The pay is terrible.”

I intend to teach regardless, but I would appreciate it if the community valued this profession as much as I do. An important manifestation of that respect is salary. It is shameful how much responsibility and pressure we put on teachers while paying them so little.

For this reason, I strongly support the Santa Rosa Teachers Association’s effort to increase teacher pay. Our teachers have not gotten a raise in six years in which time inflation has increased by more than 10 percent. It is time we start giving our teachers the recognition — and the pay — that they deserve.