Re Patricia Kissinger's concerns about her child (or children) being rezoned to Harlem High School:
Her disdain is insulting.
She and her 100 petition-signers need not look at the schools' average SAT scores to draw comparisons; those are what they are - an average of the test scores from all students participating in those non-mandatory tests.
Instead, they should look at the county schools' STAR student SAT scores over the years. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the test scores of Harlem's STAR and honor students are comparable to those from Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside. If Kissinger is concerned about the individual school influencing her kid's ability to learn, then it should be pointed out that Harlem High School didn't impede the aptitude of the STAR students or the valedictorians and honor students during that school's history.
Kissinger is apparently unaware that Harlem High School was (and still is) the only school in the county to receive a "National School of Excellence" designation (in the early 1990s), was the only school in the county listed among Redbook Magazine's top schools in that same era, and that Harlem's fine arts department competes on-par with Evans, Greenbrier and Lakeside.
I could go into more specifics - demographic and financial makeup of the population Harlem serves, for example - but they're just excuses. Students who have wanted to excel in the classroom at Harlem have always been able to. As a graduate from 1992, I can point out those in my class who did so; many have gone on to become hospital administrators, department of agriculture public health veterinarians/food inspectors, military officers and more.
If Kissinger, or any other parent, wishes for their child to excel, I advise them to be more pro-active parents. The Columbia County school system is one of the finest in the state, and Harlem High School isn't bringing up the rear. The same opportunities that exist at Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside are at Harlem as well. It's then up to the student (with proper parental support) to make of it what they will.
But to placate the handful of concerned parents, why not allow the rezoning to happen in phases? We can eliminate the insulting demonstrations of "concerned" parents "bemoaning" their children's pending educational "demise" at Harlem (note: sarcasm), and let their kids finish their high school education where they may currently be attending.
Ron Roberts, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
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