Challenges for the New School Year

September 01, 1994

Another school year is under way and all of Carroll County's public school students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in education, one of the most important human activities. Children have another year to acquiring more knowledge, develop their minds and build on their character.

Even though this school year began in late August, the opening of school should be seen as an opportunity to start fresh -- the way we consider spring the season of rebirth, growth and optimism. All of the county's 25,000 students have the chance to do better than they did last year. Many students who did not work up to their potential have the opportunity to fulfill their promise, and students who did achieve have the chance to set even higher standards.

Unfortunately for some children, the new school year marks the beginning of endless months of drudgery and boredom. These are the students who cause the disruptions and the discipline problems that destroy a good learning environment. If some of these children can be turned around and reacquainted with the excitement of learning, they will have more positive self-images and the entire system will be better off.

Last year, Carroll's parents, teachers and administrators initiated a process to address the discipline problem. A study released last May was the first step in developing a safe and orderly environment for learning. Much work needs to be done to identify effective discipline practices and to share them with teachers and administrators. The goal should be to create a philosophy within all of Carroll County's schools where respect for others and for learning are the guiding principles.

Students are not the only members of the community who face challenges this semester. A hotly contested school board election takes place this fall to fill two openings. (Our endorsements for county school board appear in this space tomorrow.)

The electorate will have to select from among 11 candidates, who espouse various approaches for promoting the welfare of students as well as for paying for those schools.

Creating an orderly environment for learning and selecting board members to run the school system are formidable challenges for the infant school year.

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