Behind the scenes at CHS

Published 12:06 pm Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dear Editor,

High school should be a place for learning how to be an adult. During their senior year, many students are beginning to plan for the rest of their lives.

A large portion of seniors at Central High School are beginning this process by taking dual­-enrollment classes, which are college classes taught by college professors. One would think that students who are mature enough to handle college-­level courses, along with their high school requirements, deserve the same privileges, if not more, than their younger counterparts.

Unfortunately, the administration of Central High School/LCPS does not feel this way. In fact, the administration is actually OK with these older, higher-­achieving students being put at a disadvantage simply because of their age.

Every grade at Central High School is issued tablets for each student to have, except for the senior class. The school is not able to decide which grades get tablets because the grant for this technology is very specific; however, one can see the disadvantage to the senior class, especially those students who need these devices for their college classes.

There is a very simple solution to this problem: implement a personal use policy for the senior class. If that is too broad, then only allow students in college classes to use devices while they are in that college class. What is wrong with implementing this policy? The administration can not seem to come up with a logical answer to this question, because there is not one.

The administration says that students are provided with enough resources for their college classes. This was justified by letting students use iPads to find information during one SVCC course.

This was a waste because most of the iPads were not capable of pulling up the necessary information, and the learning experience suffered. One member of the administration suggested that students should use note cards or print information. Here is a fact: formal debates require the use of articles, statistics, and facts sometimes totaling in excess of fifty pages.

Forcing students to take hundreds of cards worth of notes for one debate is inefficient, and frankly, quite ridiculous. If the students do not use note cards, does the library really need students preparing for debates by printing hundreds of pages per week? Why is this more desirable than using personal devices?

The learning experience has been inhibited because of this problem. Due to lack of resources, debate has been removed from the curriculum of these courses.

This hurts students academically because exposure to formal debate is a great way to learn about U.S. governmental processes, and this prepares them for public speaking at the University level.

Another aspect of this issue is simply baffling. The administration states that access to the library for an hour and a half on Mondays and Tuesdays compensates for the lack of technology; this does not help in the classroom setting. Consider the following two scenarios.

A ninth grader in Spanish 1 has to take approximately one page of notes per day, and these notes are explicitly written on the board for the student to copy. A twelfth grade student in government, psychology, or criminal justice has to listen to a lecture and write anywhere between four to eight pages of notes per day based solely on what the professor is saying.

For which student is it more ideal to take notes electronically? Clearly, the senior needs the technology more, but apparently this is unclear at Central. The ninth grader has access to a school-­issued tablet where he or she may take notes during class.

Seniors enrolled in the college courses not only have no access to tablets, but they will be punished for bringing their own technology to accommodate for this. Here is an excerpt from a handout provided to students a few days ago:

“1st Offense: Devices will be confiscated and returned only to parents/guardians after 5 consecutive school days. 2nd Offense: Immediate 2 day in school suspension. Devices will be confiscated and may be returned only to parents/guardians. 3rd Offense: Immediate 3 day out of school suspension. Devices will be confiscated and may be returned only to parents/guardians. Further violations will result in long term suspension.”

Yes, it is a fantastic idea to kick students out of school for taking lecture notes electronically while allowing younger students to do the same thing without punishment. Welcome to the fair world of Central High School.

Do not think that students are now blindsiding administrators because of this policy. For weeks, seniors have been politely proposing a new policy with logical justification.

The administration responded by releasing the notice referred to earlier in this letter. Apparently, not allowing students to use technology in college classes is based solely on the opinions of the administration because they are unable to provide any factual, logical reasons for their choice.

Staying away from opinion, here are the facts. The senior class, particularly those in college classes, are suffering academically because of this unfairness. There is no excuse in forcing high­-achieving students to accept any less than the education they deserve.

Courtney Whilden, MeriAgnes Dalton, Hannah Hankley, Marcus Mason, Ashley Salmon, Lori Seamster, Taylor King, Alyssa Luckett, Kaegan Morgan, Jessica Bailey, Andrea Ford, Ashley Ellis, Roderick Harrison, Ellie Richmond, Luke Puleo, Ellis Larimore, Edward Reed, Michael Wright, Caleb Hinkle, Ryan Havens, Daniel Wilkinson, Hali Brewer, Brandon Scott, Cara Williams, Datrail Barnes, Karen Edmonson, Jeremiah Davis and Marcus Reed