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What we think: SCHS decision needed input

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By The Staff

 

Is it just us or does this decision at Shelby County High School to go to a trimester structure starting next year seem a bit rushed?

We learned – though we don’t exactly understand – that this decision by SCHS’s site-based decision-making council is binding and does not require approval by the school board.

We learned – though we don’t exactly understand – that state law provides that such significant decisions may be made a group of people that are sometimes selected and sometimes volunteer. The superintendent doesn’t even have to OK them. How many of us even know someone on that council?

And we now understand – as do their parents -- that 1,763 students next year will see their lives change dramatically based on this simple process.

Doesn’t that seem sort of like electing a president based solely on a caucus in Iowa?

Please understand that we don’t necessarily disagree with the notions of awarding credits after a 12-week session. Though that may appear short to us, we’re sure the kids will like having only 12 weeks of, say, chemistry as opposed to 18. Considering the shortcomings of the current block scheduling, anything would seem an improvement.

And though we have no clear idea about whether this will be sufficient in the era of heavily coveted honors and advanced-placement curricula, we will trust those who know about such things to make them work.

Our quibble here is that a decision of this magnitude was made in somewhat of a vacuum.

Wouldn’t it have been OK to solicit input from parents before making the final decision and going public with it?

Wouldn’t it have been better to explain the benefits of this new structure to parents rather than letting their children deliver the message as a done deal?

We have been deluged recently with automated phone calls for snow days and late starts. Couldn’t we have received one written note that this was being considered? Or how about notifying the public about the agenda for the meeting?

Could it have hurt anything at all to stop a moment and check good ol’ Kentucky windage on this one?

Generally, when life-changing decisions are made – and this one, though limited in scope, will change lives for students and their families – it always seems better to ask for permission rather than forgiveness.

Whether students and parents – and perhaps even teachers -- ultimately will forgive this decision remains to be seen. This one may work out perfectly, and these words may be forgotten even more quickly than the decision originally was made.

But perhaps the committee could have benefited from the sort of lessons teachers try to instill in their students each and every day: Talk to your families and friends about your ideas before you begin, and you will make better informed decisions.

And, that way, you will avoid a lot of life’s mistakes.

Perhaps the committee could have gathered as much information as possible and understood fully the impact on students, parents and teachers.

Yes, airing out this one might have been a good idea.