EDITORIAL: Testing our schools

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Teachers and professional educators understand tests.

Tests are an assessment intended to measure the respondents’ knowledge or other abilities.

With that said, we look with mixed emotions on the test scores of Chickasaw County School District, Okolona School District and Houston School District.

All of us have been handed back a test and the grade both disappointed and pleased us. We feel that is the case with our local school districts.

Okolona and Houston schools saw district scores rise this year, but they are not where those communities need them to be. Chickasaw County saw its test scores drop and that concerns both them and us.

This paper doesn’t want to say teachers and administrators are failing, but it is apparent many of our children are. And educating students to achieve success is the focus of all schooling.

The Chickasaw Journal is finished last week three stories that sought to explain what recent test scores released by the state mean and what each district plans to do to improve their grades. There is a story on Page One of today’s paper that gives the grades for Okolona, Houston and Chickasaw County schools.

We hope parents, taxpayers and educators read what is said by each of our three school districts about these test scores. We hope each community takes that information and works to better the schools in their respective district.

We challenge trustees and educators to realize how serious these numbers are, not because they reflect on their work, but because they indicate our children are not learning well in many subjects.

We also hope each community will look at the successes of local school districts and encourage local educators to work harder. Teaching is not an easy job, but it is one that holds immense rewards for those who demand excellence.

We will not get into what was tested, the merits of high-stakes testing or pointing fingers in this space today. But we do want each community to take a long, hard look at what kind of marks their school district earned this year.

Great schools are the key to thriving communities.

And Houston, Okolona and Chickasaw County deserve the best.

Lets look the facts squarely in the face and then roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Need we remind anyone that at the end of the 2013-14 school year there will be a test.

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