State should revamp education

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

When the books close and the students exit for the last time, Mississippi education flunks the test.

Our students aren&8217;t all ready for the working world, and many of them can&8217;t keep up.

But State Superintendent Hank Bounds is ready to change that.

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His plan is basic common sense.

Our seventh-graders know more about computers than many 40-year-olds, so why are we still teaching them how to open a Word document in school?

Some of our high school students want to take advanced placement learning classes not offered at their school &8212; but this is the Internet age, and we have online classes.

Not all of our teenagers, want, plan or need to go to college, but we offer them very basic vocational classes or academics all the way. Why not meet in the middle with career training?

It&8217;s called high school redesign, and it&8217;s picking up pretty much all over the country.

Vidalia High School started the process last year, offering online college courses, nursing certificates and welding experience.

Now, Mississippi&8217;s ready to jump on board.

But Bounds knows his obstacles, and one of them is Mississippi itself. Historically, culturally, traditionally, education isn&8217;t on the front burner here. Lawmakers under-fund it. Parents devalue it. And students flee from it.

The state has a plan, but before we can see redesign success, we have to open our eyes to the big picture.

If we don&8217;t prepare our children for the 21st century&8217;s working world, they will fail &8212; and so will we.