News and Tribune


September 16, 2013

CUMMINS: Schools are a thing of the past


We need to stop leaving too many children behind. Due to all sorts of social and economic factors plus family breakdown, too many children don’t have the opportunity, encouragement, social stability, proper nutrition and health care to succeed in school. Obviously, not all children are academically equipped to pass minimum standards. What’s the minimum standard for living a good life?

 The public rages about how bad the schools are. Let’s grade the teachers and the schools, separate the wheat from the chaff, the brains from the numbskulls, and let the state deal with those dropping along the welfare wayside. Let’s grade the legislators, bureaucrats and politicians instead, separating the chaff from the weeds. 

We claim to educate “all” children. This differs from most other countries, which separate the academically talented students from those who can succeed in other areas. Do we expect all students to pass high academic standards? Do we expect all students to run a 12-minute mile?

I worry about my grandson, who is a junior at one of our floundering high schools. He is a weight lifter training to be a shot putter, apparently placing matter over his mind like I did. Lifting weights is easier than lifting one’s mind. “Hey, Tim, let me see your progress report.” Let me see the congressional progress report? They have a sure-fire plan to educate all Americans, something similar to providing health care for all, don’t they?

 As a Morgan High Raider, I took English, history, agriculture and a little science and math, very little. We practiced basketball the last period, went home without books to milk, feed, eat and sleep. Homework was working our land.

 When does my grandson get to watch his television? I feel sorry for him. He’s making As and Bs in pre-cal/trig, AP English composition, AP U.S. history, German III, astronomy, finite math and physics. I’m not making any of this up. That’s what our floundering high schools offer today, and they’re doing it very well despite how bad they are. If the state could provide programs for all students to be successful at something, no matter the academic level, we’ll begin seeing results. It’s not like establishing a colony on Mars.

— Contact Terry Cummins at

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