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[Susan notes: Great letter. He makes the point about excessive math requirements so well.]

Published in Rocky Mountain News
09/06/2006

To the editor

News lacks respect for rural school districts



I read with interest the News editorial of Aug. 27, "Don't ease standards."



As superintendent of a rural school district I take great exception to the obvious lack of respect the News has for the many challenges rural districts face.



Despite great obstacles, Kit Carson R-1 in the last five years has sent a student to Princeton University, one student to the University of Pennsylvania, two other students to U.S. service academies and we also boast a Boettcher Scholar and a School of Mines graduate as well. All this with a typical annual high school enrollment of fewer than 40. Similar success stories abound in many other rural districts across this state.



The foreign language requirement and the fourth year of math are not only opposed because of resource limitations but because they hurt the arts and many other elective programs as well. Consider this: If I want to major in social sciences at the University of Northern Colorado, the only math requirement is one three-credit class. Now explain to me why students who struggle with math need calculus or trigonometry so they can take one math class in college.



Perhaps the News would be well-advised to read the results of a recent survey of Colorado business leaders about students' readiness for the work force ("K-16 Colorado Alignment Council - Business Survey," balancededucation.com). The main areas cited as most in need of improvement were in career and vocational skills. It's too bad most courses in those areas aren't considered rigorous enough to meet college admission standards.



Gerald Keefe

Superintendent, Kit Carson R-1 School District

Cheyenne Wells

Gerald Keefe


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