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Public schools turn off kids to learning

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Your editorial about Placer Superintendant Dave Horsey (Journal, Aug. 23) exposes the quandary of public education run by bureaucrats who think that wasting funding on technological spy gadgetry is the answer to student apathy. He put a hundred grand into this system which does nothing more than report student progress to parents which should already be reported anyway by teacher conferences and report cards. At the same time, by his own admission, he inflated the student-teacher ratio 175 percent in his basic algebra program, presumably to save money. What public education should be doing is evaluating its antiquated graduation requirements, including the aforementioned algebra, which is used by less than 15 percent of the workforce. (I don’t doubt its value for engineering majors and math teachers.) If they actually focused the curriculum on skills that lead to competency in life and employability instead of trying to make themselves look good on STAR test scores, they would not need big brother surveillance schemes to goad kids into performing. Students would knock down the doors to get into such a program. Our economy is specialized, yet administrators hold onto the defunct “liberal education” concept which does not promote equality nor does it broaden viewpoints. It stifles individuality and hinders students from pursuing their unique talents and interests. Exposing kids to a variety of knowledge is good, but forcing them to become experts in everything turns them off to learning. Public education needs to fill the void and not pass its failure off to the ITT Institutes of the educational world. Jim Beall, Sr., Auburn