Student Responds To SF Reward Trip Issue
To The Editor:
In response to both letters from the past two weeks by Southern Fulton School District residents, I feel the need to express my opinion as an academic student at Southern Fulton. It seems some believe that students who do well in school and on these tests don't deserve to be rewarded for hard work and accomplishments. One question: What do academic students get to help them excel at school or to get to that next level so the U.S. can compete with other industrialized countries? We don't get aid or extra funding for programs, so why is a reward trip so wrong? If tax money is the issue, then how is it fair that a huge amount of tax money is spent on special education? I understand these students need extra help so that they do well, but why can't funding be used to reward the students that excel? If the school doesn't make its annual yearly progress (AYP), then the state takes control over the school. Where is this funding going to come from? I'll give you one good guess: tax money, an extreme amount of tax money. So weigh your measures: a small fee for a reward trip, or a ridiculous cost for reform?
In defense of my school, classes are made mandatory, as a block, during seventh and eighth grade to help aid with PSSA test scores. Students are also required to take a Study Island course, which is online. Time is also taken out of regular class to do exercises that prepare for the PSSA tests. Also, if the students don't pass the PSSA tests, then they do take a course during club period to help them (not to punish them). All these measures are to provide kids with all the skills they need to be successful on the PSSA tests. The school is not leaving kids behind when they are doing everything possible to help students to pass. The trip is just a simple incentive.
My classmate wrote a letter last week, mentioning life being based on a reward system, using parenting and jobs as an example. I agree with him. If 10 people are interviewed for a job, then the person most qualified and fit for the job will get it. This is a reward for the hard work they have put forth to meet the qualifications a business is looking for. They are not punished if they don't get the job. Also, a reward system, when parenting, is nearly universal throughout the U.S. If a child does as they are told, then they get something they want in return. Parents often tell their child: "If you do your chores, you can go to the movies," or, "If you are good in the store, you can get a toy." Nowhere in the letter written two weeks ago does it mention anything about not loving your child. Of course parents should love their kids; a reward system doesn't take that away.
As a student applying and looking for colleges, I can assure you that just because I have passing grades doesn't mean I can get into any college that my parents or I can afford. If this were true, then every person out there with a lot of money desiring a top-of-the-line education would go to an Ivy League school. All colleges have admission standards, some more rigid than others.
I'm not one to bash people or put people down, however, I must assert that the writer of last week's letter knows nothing about Chase, the vice-president of our class, or me. We may not be out on our own, or paying property taxes, but we both work, just like the majority of the kids in our class. We see the world around us, we understand many of the problems facing society, and we see what our parents go through on a daily basis, so don't assume that Chase, or any of the rest of us, don't really know anything about life, because you don't know what we go through in our lives. The letter also mentions that the "Young man needs to get his facts straight," but her "facts" contain many errors. Mentioned in the letter was that only a "select few" were allowed to go on the trip, when, in reality, the majority of the class met the requirements to go on the trip.
Presently, our trip to Ocean City has been postponed or possibly even cancelled this year. In writing this letter, I am fighting for future classes, so they might get the chance to get the reward that they work so diligently for. The point of the trips is to inspire kids to try to do their best. The intent is not to exploit those who don't do well or to make them feel less about themselves; it is to make them want to strive to reach a goal. It is unfortunate that some students try their best and don't pass, but it's the students that don't try that these trips are directed toward, so that they will give their best effort. All in all, the school is trying to promote academic excellence, not hurt anyone's feelings.
Just like Mrs. Foor mentioned in her letter last week, feel free to attend the school board meeting. This is an important issue that should be addressed by both sides of the line. Your opinion and input would be greatly appreciated.
President of Southern
Fulton Class of 2010