Settle

I would apologize for offending people with my last editorial but it was a personal written opinion. After the Torch was released and people had a chance to read my editorial, I had a lot of feedback from teachers and students, both positive and negative. I was prepared for the feedback until what I wrote and what I meant was being perceived differently. Allow me to clear some things up.

For students who agreed with my editorial because you thought I was bashing education as a whole didn’t grasp what I was trying to get across. I never once mentioned that kids shouldn’t have to go to school or that academics aren’t needed. I was saying that education could pertain more specifically to each student’s interests. If a student felt confident enough to know what direction they wanted their life to go in, then they could take certain classes that revolve around a more distinct subject. This isn’t saying the school day would be any shorter or that you would have a longer summer it just means the variety of classes would be greater and required classes would pertain to your future career. This isn’t saying that you would need to know a career while still in high school gives you the opportunity to take classes you’re more interested in.

For teachers who disagreed with my article because you believed I was bashing teachers and belittling what you do for us are also very wrong. I absolutely love my teachers and have the utmost respect for them. What I don’t agree with is the curriculum each student is made to follow day in and day out. I also wasn’t saying the information you teach us is unnecessary for everyone, but there is a large percentage of people that won’t use all the information and skills taught in required classes in their choice of career. My personal idea was that all of these classes would be available, plus more, but only those who needed or wanted the information would take the classes. No teachers would lose their jobs, if anything more jobs would be created for the variety of classes.

In the end all this is a personal opinion. This idea of education structure is very specific to my situation and I understand it may not pertain to others. In the future I would recommend reading editorials with an open mind and know before you do, it’s a personal opinion. Thank you and see you in prison…only kidding.

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  • K

    Kara AsmussenApr 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    April 23, 2013
    Mr. Lunsford,

    Having read and discussed your prior editorial and the letter from the editor by Ms. Altschwager (April 2013, Vol. 46, Issue 7) with several colleagues, I read this online response with interest. You are entitled to the opinions expressed, and, yes, I did read them both as such. I can also appreciate your desire to respond to what you perceived as criticism. However, I believe you’ve missed the mark.

    To title your editorial here with the imperative “Settle” is insulting to readers who cared enough to engage with you, as is your implication that they misunderstood you because they are close-minded. Your title implies that those who disagree with you are simply hysterical and do not have valid opinions of their own…now who is being closed minded? I sincerely hope that you will not have a similar reaction to this letter, will not dismiss my observations about your work so readily. If that is too much to ask, I write in hopes that other Torch journalists, present and future, will consider my reaction and suggestions in the pursuit of their own work.

    You explain here how your last editorial suggested that “education could pertain more specifically to students’ interests” and provide “more distinct subject(s)” for those who have already chosen a career path. These are not invalid suggestions in their own right, but both here and in your previous text, they lack specificity. What curriculum do you find unnecessary? What elective programming is missing? Also, are you aware of the career academy coursework that is supported by Kennedy? How many of our students are already receiving college credit and/or career training while enrolled at Kennedy? Look into these, you might be surprised.

    Your editorial included your own future plans, which is a nice detail. But I’m curious: what classes do we lack that might help you pursue these seemingly divergent careers?
    Despite budget reductions and other priorities that have whittled away our elective offerings over the last several years, Kennedy has maintained a thriving music program, including AP Music Theory. We still have several art classes, including graphic design, AP Studio Art and AP Art History. We also offer business classes. I believe all these courses relate to your chosen fields, yes? I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that we are also lucky to offer three class periods devoted to journalism (four if you count 7th hour Literary Magazine), more than some schools who relegate all or some of their student media to extracurricular time outside of the school day.

    Additionally, your editorials lack context. Have you, as a journalist writing about education, familiarized yourself with the Common Core Curriculum, specifically the “College and Career Readiness” portions? Educators and legislatures in many states, including Iowa, are all talking about the Common Core. Look in to it; it may address some of your concerns, it may inspire even more.

    Your claim that your ideas will create more classes and teaching jobs is not supported by evidence and does not take our current situation into consideration. Instructors and administrators are bracing themselves for teacher reduction in the core areas (math, science, language arts and social studies) and unthinkable class sizes in 2013-2014, yet you seem to blithely suggest that your approach to education will be a miraculous cure. I wish it were that easy.

    It is, in my opinion, the lack of specificity and context in both of your pieces that limit this reader’s ability to “grasp what (you) were trying to get across.” Furthermore, it directly follows Ms. Altschwager’s missive about student disengagement. As a language arts teacher and a 15 year reader of the Torch, I am no stranger to these topics; I believe they’re manifestations of Spring Fever and Senioritis. But, this also makes them trite. I would like to see the Torch take on timely topics with unique, fresh perspectives rather than, as you describe in the first sentence of the printed article “follow the adolescent stereotype.” If you continue to rehash rants we’ve heard before, I fear you will lose readers.

    Incidentally, I visited the Torch on line Saturday morning, after other local media outlets (KCRG, The Gazette, even the CRCSD website) failed to cover the CRCSD’s press release about candidates for principal and the public forums which begin Monday. Knowing that Torch was already pursuing the story, I fully expected the online Torch to be the first local media to break the news. I am disappointed that it did not. (What a missed opportunity!) Instead, I found this editorial as your lead story. I think this speaks to your organization’s priorities.

    Thank you for your time and for your news organization’s willingness to allow reader response on the online Torch.

    Kara Asmussen
    Language Arts

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