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Big reality check


There's more good news on the local public school front, so next time the federal government shows up saying how dismal our schools are and how most of them can't achieve Adequate Yearly Progress scores in the No Child Left Behind program, remember this to keep things in context: Area schools improved scores on the math and verbal sections of the SAT again in 2005, with most achieving above national and state averages, according to scores released Tuesday.

That's quite a sobering reality check, pitting the long-established Gold Standard of academic achievement with all its accolades against George Bush's dogmatic, phlegmatic, under-funded, federal-interventionist Frankenstein of an alleged public education reform package.

As staff writer Christina Murphy reported Wednesday, almost all local schools boasted scores higher than the state and national averages. Augusta County Superintendent Gary McQuain said Buffalo Gap and Fort Defiance high schools were the top scorers in the county, with school averages at 1077 and 1067. Buffalo Gap made the most significant gains over last year, increasing average scores by 24 points in verbal and 44 points in math.

In Staunton, Robert E. Lee High School Principal John Fahey said math and English scores both increased by 22 points this year. The school's combined SAT average was 1044. And Waynesboro High School Principal Sue Wright said average scores there increased by 16 to 18 points in each section. In 2004, Waynesboro High School scored 503 in verbal and 509 in math.

Now this is extraordinary and an achievement worthy of pride and praise from the entire community; we've got some really smart kids with some really good teachers. These smart kids stand good chances of getting into good colleges and having good live, hopefully back in their home communities. What more could anyone hope or ask for? This, after all, is where the biggest part of the tax pie gets served on a platter.

Sounds like a good return on our money, no matter what the feds may say.

— Editorial
News Leader


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