How do you truly measure quality education?
Sure, there is an alphabet soup of testing programs, from PSSA to SAT. There are graduation rates per 1,000 students. There are point-by-point standards that local school districts must meet to comply with state mandates, and point-by-point requirements for states to meet the mandates of federal mandates.
All of that official litmus pales, however, when your 10-year-old comes home with a huge grin and informs you that he can figure out just how long one side of a triangle is if he knows the length of the other two sides and the angle between them. And, you know, Mrs. ---- says engineers do stuff like that.
How do you measure inspiration?
Teachers and students, because the suffer under the burden that they are individual human beings and thus possess individual personalities and intellectual abilities, are thrown together in an artificial environment and expected to "click" every single time.
Any teacher will tell you that perhaps the greatest thrill of their profession is watching the face of a student who has latched onto a concept, converted it to their own thinking, and thrilled in the accomplishment. Those are the moments that make it worth the work.
If you follow this newspaper on a regular basis you will have seen dozens of students each week involved in discovery. They are discovering not just facts, but themselves, their own unique value, clues to help them find their niche in society.
For a group of students at the Warren County Career Center, their discovery is that the skills they are learning will not only provide them a career and a good life after they graduate, but that they can also put those skills to work helping others.
The partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the building trades classes at WCCC is an example of education going outside the box. They didn't just build a house, they built a sense of community, a sense of pride and the knowledge that they can use their skills to help others.
The smiles said it all.