Instruction of non-honors students inadequate

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I'm very glad to have someone as knowledgeable as Ralph Lee making this situation public [Taking another look at the achievement gap in Oak Park, Viewpoints, Dec. 1]. In 30 years of living in Oak Park, I've frequently heard stories from young people (all white) about the mediocre education provided to non-honors students at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Among the worst is from a young woman whose only homework for several weeks of a biology class consisted of coloring pictures of the plants and animals they were studying.

With an "average" fifth grader in District 97, I am very concerned about the quality of education she will receive at OPRF.

Diana Sherry
Oak Park

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Mary from Oak Park  

Posted: December 23rd, 2010 12:09 PM

I strongly endorse the consideration of one of our wonderful private schools as an opportunity for a great education. Though the cost of a private school education is high, the life long benefit to the child is immeasurable. Classes are smaller - students don't fall between the cracks. The culture is one in which students excel academically and are challenged to be giving, considerate members of society. All of the private schools have tuition assistance programs. Worth considering!

Achievement Gap  

Posted: December 23rd, 2010 9:13 AM

Achievement Gap versus Non-honors? Diana, not sure your point, unless it was a plug for R. Lee. OPRF does not cause a gap. It begins in the grade schools in OP. There is no substitute for STRONG parental involvement. If you have that, you and your "average" 5th grader will be fine. Parents need to motivate, challenge, provide direction, ask questions, follow & lead their children. If you loose that - they tend to loose their Direction.

Very Happy OPRF Mom from River Forest  

Posted: December 21st, 2010 8:16 PM

I too was told that you don't get the same quality of education in the regular classes as you do in the honors classes but that has not been the case for my daughter and her friends. She's a junior has a good mix of both Honors and regular classes and I can say with certain that she has received an excellent education in both kinds of classes. We recently received her PSAT scores and she rocked on them.

Michael Nevins from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2010 3:38 PM

As the parent of a recent OPRF grad and one that is a junior, I can, fortunately, tell Ms. Sherry that what she is hearing about the non-honor's program is incorrect. My children have had classes at various levels and while it is true that, all things being equal, the students in the Honor's classes are more motivated, your 5th grader will receive a good education regardless of their level.

Dan Greenstone from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2010 3:22 PM

As a teacher of of both honors and College Prep (regular) World History classes at OPRFHS, I couldn't disagree more strongly with the notion that we don't provide the most challenging and interesting curriculum possible to our non-honors students. Email me at if you'd like to see a sampling of what we do. I suspect you'll be impressed.

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