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[Susan notes: Interestingly, the last paragraph was cut when the letter was published.



The letter convinces me that we need a campaign: No more term papers in high school. College is the appropriate place for such endeavors.]

Published in The Oregonian
05/31/2005

To the editor

I have come to doubt the wisdom of the reformers bent on changing our high schools. Don't they know the difference between more courses and better courses; between harder work and more meaningful work; between rigor and vigor as the hallmarks of a good high school education?



Adding another year of science and math, crammed with the same kinds of esoteric information and unrealistic problems as the current courses, won't help either our college bound or our career bound students.

Formal research papers and textbooks borrowed from college courses won't stimulate befuddled students to achieve more.



Moreover, the proposal requiring students to follow one career path of electives loses the whole point of having electives in the first place. Most high school students don't know yet how or where they want to spend their work lives. Having ab array of appealing electives to choose from is intended to give them a chance to explore new possibilities and become aware of future choices.



Only the senior project makes sense and, then, only if each student receives ongoing guidance from a caring faculty member.



In the decisions being made by adults, who have obviously forgotten their own youth, the personalities, intellects and aptitudes of our young people are being sacrificed to the demands of a business culture that wants only compliant workers with basic skills who won't waste time thinking or creating.





Joanne Yatvin


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