Making good citizens

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2005

School officials at their retreat earlier this week touted their success in raising performance on Standards of Learning testing, and justifiably so.

All Suffolk high schools are now fully accredited under the state guidelines – King’s Fork in its first year. They are joined by three of four middle schools and all but four of the elementary schools.

That’s a heck-of-an achievement by any stretch and worthy of kudos for teachers, students and administrators – not to mention Suffolk taxpayers who have ponied up more and more of their hard-earned dollars year after year, so far without a revolt.

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According to officials, the problem in the elementary schools is history. That’s troubling.

While in the past officials have blamed tests, it’s clear that just not enough focus is being placed on our nation’s past and that needs to change. Knowledge of where we’ve been is an important part of being a citizen. Those ignorant of how and why our nation was formed, the freedoms we cherish and which so many have fought for and died to preserve are in ever-increasing numbers and that’s frightening because they are the people who willingly sacrifice rights and freedoms to anybody who tries to fool them by telling them it is in their self-interest.

There was a time we relied on our schools to do more than just teach, but to produce good citizens. A knowledge of history is central to that.

As Supt. Dr. Milton Liverman pointed out at the retreat, the schools have proven they can be successful. We congratulate them on their success and urge them to strive for more.