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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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‘Listen with open minds’

To The Editor:

What if we think of education at Harwood in a different way? What if all kids are given the opportunity to excel in all their classes? What if all students were required to have a rigorous course schedule? Research has shown that one of the most important factors in school success is high expectations. Tracking some students into classrooms that are at a lower level is detrimental to those students, in part because it is setting the expectations lower.

There are many questions for the school about heterogeneous grouping. Perhaps the foremost question is how will they ensure that all students are challenged? Other questions include, how will they provide extra help for students that need it? How will they modify transcripts so colleges can recognize when students do honors level work?

These and other questions are important. Like all parents, I want the best education for my children. I want them to be challenged by traditional coursework and I want them to have opportunities that were not available when I was in school. I will be excited about the fact that their school is moving forward to 21st-century teaching if it is done well.

On the issue of honors classes at Harwood Union High School, the community members should give the administration an opportunity to present their case. Education research shows that heterogeneous grouping does not negatively affect high-performing students, while raising performance for other students, so let's listen to the proposal with open minds and then provide constructive feedback so that they can develop the best educational policy.

Stephen Magill



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