Those given to thinking about the high school in terms of literary metaphors may want to spend some time pondering Charles Dickens’ “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
This year OPRF High School has produced 18 valedictorians, students whose grades are, indeed, the best. Unfortunately, this impressive accomplishment does not negate the fact that this year OPRF also has produced approximately 200 seniors who, based on ISBE reporting of Prairie State exam scores, have reading skills below minimum standards. The number of students scoring below minimum standards in math and science is even higher. More than half of these students are black, but many are white.
Perhaps, rather than condemning to Dante’s hell those parents who voice their frustrations, we should be thinking about the real-life hell that awaits kids who graduate from OPRF without minimum reading or math skills. OPRF is a good school. However, there is opportunity for improvement.
The glass is both half full and half empty. Instead of arguing about who’s right or who’s at fault, we should all be working together to fill the glass to the top. But unless we are willing to accept that there is not only room but a need for improvement, we will never be able to add even a single drop.