In Syracuse, school is always 'in'
It may seem a bit late in the year to begin a column on education, but, as we enter New York State's "testing season," a two-month run of standardized testing designed to measure the success of our education system, what better place to begin?
This is the time of year when measurement is king - when psychometricians (read: educational number crunchers) take over where professional educators leave off. This is the time of year that real estate agents and chambers of commerce gear up to publicize their communities based on test scores. It is the time of year when "teaching to the test" becomes the ill-advised mantra in public schools and "test prep" becomes part of the curriculum.
It is the time of year that the rest of us need to concentrate on the positive aspects of education - the things that are not measured by statistics and percentiles - the things that can't be measured and graphed and charted.
The concept that "school is in" will be the focus. We will focus on the things being done to make education better - not just make test scores higher. We will look at teachers, administrators, volunteers, students, staff and all the others tied to our schools.
We will look at the governments that provide the funding and, in many cases, the policies that drive our system. We will look at a city and county that value education - frequently to the point of putting politics aside for the betterment of our youth in order to provide the long term benefit to all.
We will talk to some of the elected officials that fight the battle in Albany to bring much needed, and deserved, funding to our area.
We will look at a landmark educational partnership that has put Syracuse at the forefront of modern urban education systems. We will look at an urban school system, the Syracuse City School District, that is aware of its problems and taking remarkable steps to solve them.