To the editor:
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I read with interest that a group of parents are pressing Center Grove to offer a more rigorous curriculum.
I worked for many years on this very issue, attending countless school board meetings, committee meetings, rallies and protests.
Here is my advice to Center Grove parents:
1. When the school board says they will review the situation, form a committee or seek “best practices,” these are all codes for “Forget about it. It will never happen.”
2. When they say, “Things are set for next year, so any change will be for future years,” this is code for, “We hope to keep you busy until you realize change will never occur in time to help your own child.”
3. When they say, “You may voice your concerns at the next school board meeting,” they mean that you will have to sit for hours at a meeting and then be limited to three minutes to make your point, if you follow the complicated procedures to sign in first. If too many people want to speak, the school board will table the discussion.
4. School administrators, school board members and some teachers will try to make you feel like you are crazy, helicopter parents, or “elitist.” It is not an elitist act to enroll your child in a public school. The school has an obligation to teach your child. Your child should not become a tutor for remedial students. Your child should not be working below his ability level. You are not crazy, the curriculum is not challenging enough.
5. You will be told that it is better for your child to be “well-rounded” than to be challenged. This is incorrect. It is better for your child to be well-rounded and challenged.
6. You will be told that colleges do not really care about SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement scores. This is a lie.
7. You will be told that you are asking for services for a very small group of students when they have an obligation to all students. Center Grove has a responsibility to all the students, including yours. Do not accept this as a reason for accepting an inappropriate learning environment for your child.
8. When you ask why other schools like Carmel have so many Advanced Placement courses, opportunities in middle school, etc., you will be told, “We are not Carmel.” I never understood this comment. Does this mean that Center Grove kids are inherently less talented or capable than Carmel students? Maybe you can get a real answer from the Center Grove administration.
9. Your children are competing internationally with students from India and China. Colleges can enroll highly qualified international students who pay higher tuition than in-state students. Our children must become more — not less — prepared.
10. You are right, they are wrong. Fight until there are appropriate curricula in every subject from kindergarten through 12th grade. By the way, all Advanced Placement teachers must have the official AP training or the school cannot call it an Advanced Placement course; there is rampant mislabeling going on at Center Grove.
11. Center Grove should have at least as much opportunity for rigorous math, science and language arts as any other school in the state.
12. Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t ever give up.
There is a new superintendent at Center Grove. Maybe he will be the one to make the difference. Good luck.
If you do get a more rigorous curriculum, please support your child in doing the work, even if it is difficult. Coaches do not hesitate to ask kids to give 110 percent. Teachers should be able to expect the same.