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November 26, 2015

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Students brainstorm ways to improve education

Ashley Martinez of Green Valley High School

Ashley Martinez of Green Valley High School

A major issue that was brought up was to what extent others are responsible for our education. We posed questions such as “Should parents be held more accountable for the attendance and behavior of their child?” and “Would higher teacher salaries produce higher-quality teachers?”

Regarding the first question, here is the solution we developed: It is unjust to hold parents responsible for a student’s attendance because it is ultimately the student’s decision to go to school. A child may be driven to school by a parent, but after this step is taken, it is up to the student as to whether he or she stays at school and attends classes.

However, it is the parents’ duty to guide their child toward making correct and beneficial decisions, but this is all that should be expected from them. Therefore, the best way to prepare a child for the real world is through the lessons he or she is taught.

School provides students with the basic knowledge they need to survive in life, and so it is encouraged that students attend school for this purpose. It must also be understood that every individual learns differently.

Teachers should use audio, visual and tactical techniques to reach every section of the student population. Most important, the teachers must care.

We live in a time of laziness, which has largely been encouraged by our technological advancements. Because of this many students lack the motivation to even try, and it is only through the encouragement of teachers that they succeed.

Unfortunately, we seem to have few motivated teachers today, and increasing payment will do little to improve this. Teachers are evaluated every year, but many are able to bypass punishment by “improving their game.”

Salaries should be increased based on a teacher’s outstanding achievement, which should be judged by a student evaluation rather than an administrator, because students blend in with the crowd, so the instructor won’t know the evaluation is occurring.

On the issue of extracurricular activities, the main problem with them is that although many pupils wish to become involved, they are unable to do so. Some activities take place after school and some students require a bus for transportation home — and there are no late after-school buses at most high schools in Clark County.

Another issue that harms extracurricular activities is the seeming inequity with which the budget is spent. Many students in our room pointed out that most of their school’s funding tends to go toward their school’s most popular sports teams, even if those teams don’t have such wonderful records. This takes away from the quality of all other programs.

School spirit was also seen as contributing to good behavior and for instigating a desire in students to attend school.

On the subject of what content should be taught in class and the best way to test a student’s abilities, we came up with a couple of suggestions, one of them being: Teachers should be allowed to use PG-13 movies to assist in their lesson plans.

High school students are usually older than 13, and a lot of the books read in class are more graphic than the movies teachers wish to present. However, they cannot become dependent on videos and must seek approval from their advisers before showing films.

Teachers must also provide the opportunity for students to leave the classroom during films if they feel uncomfortable. These students can then seek help, at a later time, from their teacher to gain a lectured version of the material that was presented visually.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to speak my mind, to let my opinions be known, and to hear the opinions of others. It is my greatest hope that I have fairly represented the peers in my room to the best of my ability as we look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

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