Letter to the Editor: Response to “Student Gives New School Failing Grade”
June 11, 2008
by Alyssa Blumenthal
(Long Beach, N.Y.) As a sophomore at Long Beach High School, enrolled in all Honors and AP classes, I hold a much different perspective of our school district and its education standards. There are a great deal of higher level classes offered within the school, and those conscientious students who wish to challenge themselves and receive the best education possible must take it upon themselves to enroll in those advanced courses.
Numerous unjust generalizations were made in Mallorie Faubert’s article regarding the school’s performance and education standards. A comparison cannot be drawn between the New York State Regents Exams and the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, as each of these tests serve entirely different purposes, assessing the student and school district in extremely different subject matters. It is also important to consider that the NYS Regents Exams, and their corresponding subject matters, are mandated by the state education department and not by the Long Beach High School specifically. Any discrepancies regarding the course curriculums or grading methods (as the state also provides strict answer keys), therefore, should be directed toward the state and not toward any specific school system.
I completely agree that “a teacher’s role is to push students to their fullest potential,” but with the self-selection policy initiated recently by the school district, any student who finds that he or she is not being challenged with their current curriculum has the opportunity to move to a more advanced level class. The Regents classes offered in the high school are designed in such a way so that every student can keep up with the lessons being taught. Though this pace may be considered slow to some, other students enrolled in these classes would never be able to follow the teacher if he or she taught at a faster pace.
In Mallorie Faubert’s article, she stated that because of Long Beach’s different graduation requirements, she will now be graduating a year earlier than she otherwise would have at her old school in Pennsylvania. She is not alone in deciding to graduate ahead of schedule, but by doing so, she is missing out on many of the more entertaining and enjoyable electives offered at Long Beach High School, such as AP Art History, Psychology, Culture and Foods, Forensics, and Contemporary Issues in Literature & Media. These courses allow students to broaden their education beyond the traditional academics.
Education is strongly emphasized at the Long Beach High School. Posters of students’ work cover the classroom windows. Newspaper clippings and plaques praising students and organizations on their work can be seen all around the school. Plaques line the music department, honoring past New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All State ensemble members and other exemplary musicians who have brought much to the school. The science research room is filled with posters and awards from all different competitions in which our students have competed and triumphed. Furthermore, the daily morning announcements congratulate students and teachers on their recent accomplishments and participation in clubs, ranging anywhere from Model Congress to Mathletes.
The strong Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of the school is continuously involved in ensuring that Long Beach students are given the most opportunities to succeed. This article by Mallorie Faubert stated that the PTA listed five specific goals, “none of which involve stressing a good education,” but this is not so. According to the very same website which the author based her assertion on, our PTA strives “to develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education.”
This “quaint little island of Long Beach” does take pride in its community, and just as much so in its public school education. Many families here, mine included, are second or third generation residents of this city and have become quite successful after graduating from the Long Beach Public School District. They continue to send their kids to the same schools in which they received their education because they know, from personal experience, how much this district has to offer in regards to a well-rounded experience and education.
Please note: The above is a letter to the editor from Alyssa Blumenthal, a sophomore at Long Beach High School. Letters to the editor are not necessarily factual or accurate and, if opinion, are not necessarily the opinion of the owners and operators of NewsLine Inc.
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