Combining classes will hinder kids’ education

Even with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s focus on education this Legislative session, it still seems that the children of our state are not being put first.

Earlier this week, parents spoke out against a plan by Randolph County Schools to combine several classes. As a budget-cutting measure, Interim Superintendent Terry George has recommended creating a kindergarten/first grade split at Harman School as well as a kindergarten/first-grade/second-grade split and a third-grade/fourth-grade/fifth-grade split at Valley Head School.

Several Harman School parents spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting protesting the proposed move, which would increase class sizes and force teachers to mentor pupils at different levels in the same classroom. The general sentiment among parents is – if the proposal is approved – their children will only be getting half an education.

We wholeheartedly agree. If this plan moves forward, the county may indeed save money, but at what price? We as a community, and a society in general, cannot afford to make such slashes and sacrifices to our education system. This move would be a tremendous disservice to our children, basically setting them up to fail in the future.

Today’s competitive job climate requires more than a cursory academic background. Combining these grades where the foundation of a quality education is laid – including learning to read and write – would be devastating.

We must remember that we are far removed from the frontier era of one-room schoolhouses. We are in the 21st century and must take into account that we are shaping the future of this county and this country.

Cuts can be made. Money can be conserved. But we cannot do this at the cost of our most valuable resource – our children.