Those of us who are active in LH area schools know that there are great things going on within those walls. Sure, we complain about everything from the teaching methods of our least favorite educators to academic year calendars to the excess of pigeon poo at Wildcat stadium, but the reality is that LHHS graduates excel in competitive programs at top-notch universities all over the world.

In recent years, federal and state accountability systems, based largely on standardized testing, have not accurately portrayed what we see each day. Lackluster performance by one subgroup often torpedoes the assessment for the entire school. Time after time, the test scores of a handful of students have resulted in "just okay" ratings, which become deciding factors in homebuyers’ decisions and knock a dent in the property values of you and me.

One organization, Raise Your Hand Texas, is determined to recreate the accountability system by proposing a shift away from TAKS-type testing and its "drill and kill" method of teaching to the test.

They want to use end-of-course exams instead, along with teacher incentives, full day pre-kindergarten, and choice-of-school. They also advocate a redesign of graduation course requirements to permit a concentration in math & science, fine arts, and career & technology. Instead of students dropping out because they are snagged by their academic weaknesses, kids would be permitted to focus in later grades on the areas in which they excel (and which will pay the bills by providing a career). Most college-bound students won’t see big changes because university entrance requirements remain stringent across the board, but the music prodigy who can’t master calculus and the computer genius who can’t decipher Shakespeare will not be forced over the cliff of failure. Vocational training, such as Lake Highlands’ cosmetology and police-work programs, will expand to transform more dropouts into taxpaying citizens.

I’ve seen so many kids over the years discouraged by what they cannot seem to learn. It usually starts with sitting the bench in athletics and activities (no pass, no play of course), and ends with standing on the street corner after giving up entirely. I love the idea of focusing on the intellectual gifts God gave them.