My turn

Educational achievement is more than just tests

2013-07-04T00:00:00Z Educational achievement is more than just testsGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
July 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When I was teaching full time, I used to have a standard response to people who would ask if I was going to teach summer school. I’d say without hesitation that the words “summer’” and “school” don’t belong in the same sentence.

Well that changed a little bit this year. I have just gotten done tutoring a few 9-year-olds who needed to pass a retest on reading to advance to the next grade. High stakes testing for 9-year-olds. No pressure there? On them and me.

When I left full-time teaching, testing mania was in full swing and it hasn’t abated. Not that evaluations aren’t important, they certainly are. But the standardized tests given now, for many, seem to be the be all and end all as a means to judge the performance and achievement of both kids and schools. That is just bogus.

But unfortunately for some people, perceptions are everything, facts not withstanding. Some schools are perceived by some as “bad” schools because they have low test scores. This is the case at times for our local high school in Calumet City, T.F. North.

T.F. North did a great job with my two sons and continues to do a fine job even without the most ideal of circumstances. I would refer you to a Times article written by Dwayne Evans, principal at the school. It appeared in the June 23 edition. It was a reasoned and eloquent piece showing how our local high school is a good school. (you can go to NWI.com and type “Dwayne Evans” in the search engine).

In an education note, congratulations to Haley Sandman, a recent T.F. North graduate, for receiving a $1,300 college scholarship awarded by the Calumet City Historical Society. The scholarship was arranged through the work of Lori Munda and Sue Warner, vice president and president of the society.

OTHER THINGS

From my vantage point, Calumet City did a nice job on cleanup after the brief but nasty storm tore across the area last week. The city’s summer youth hiring program sure came into play, as I saw swarms of orange-vested young people clearing debris.

During that storm, winds were clocked at 78 mph; houses rattled, trees were uprooted, limbs broken, roofs peeled, debris flying at high speeds ... a little scary. It’s hard to believe what the storms that ripped across the Midwest earlier this year at close to 300 mph were like.

The memorial Mass for former St. Victor pastor Leo Mahon held June 22 was attended by hundreds, many of whom have since moved away from the parish. There were folks from as far away as Alabama and Arizona who came in for the Mass and reception after. It was a real old home week for many. And a fitting tribute to a great priest.

And ... in spite of controversies regarding our freedoms, should the National Security Administration be keeping track of our phone calls or not, can we have all kinds of weapons or should they be greatly restricted, can we be told to have health insurance or pay a penalty, can gay people have the benefits of marriage, on this Fourth of July celebration of the country’s birth, isn’t this still the best country on earth?

Thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at gjgrenchik@aol.com.

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