Entz’s argument ‘elitist’

Guest Editorial

I read with some interest the opinions of Alex Entz in the Oct. 27 edition of The Tiger Hi-Line regarding the current arrangements for ALPHA students and his complaints that the new ALPHA Room doesn’t meet fully the needs of the ALPHA students. While Entz’s article is long on criticism, it is, painfully, short on substance.

I recognize that talented and gifted students at any school are an asset to be cultivated; and that, much as we do for at-risk students, we should strive to meet their needs and provide opportunities for advancing their education, but I must respectfully, yet firmly disagree with Entz’s misrepresentation that ALPHA students are being swept “under the rug in a tiny room.”

On reflection, I wonder if Entz stopped to ask if other students in our community not members of ALPHA enjoy the comforts of a room equipped with private student storage space, a large-screen television, upholstered furniture and dedicated to the exclusive use of a small percentage of our community. Entz verges on elitism and a sense of unearned entitlement when he typifies ALPHA students as “The best at the school” and further suggests that these same students are “slowly being stripped of their rewards.”

But what I found most troubling was Entz’s notion that ALPHA students, who by any measure already enjoy advantages that other students lack, should also be allowed to usurp the educational needs of less fortunate students who are struggling to graduate. It was dismissive to claim, “I’m not saying I’m against graduation rates, shouldn’t the school place more emphasis on the development of the top of the class?” In a word: No. Not if that development comes at the cost of the already disadvantaged.

I am, as are all of the teachers here at CFHS, proud of the accomplishments and impressed with the character of our student body at large. It’s not an overstatement to claim that we have the finest school and the finest scholars in the state. And that ALPHA plays its part in this claim is indisputable; but it is also indisputable that in the arena of public education, and I might suggest society at large, a community is judged by how all of its citizens fare, and this commonwealth requires not only hard work and compromise, but a large-heartedness and selflessness that, in the final analysis,
distinguishes a school, and our school in particular, as “the best.”

Respectfully,

Scott Lawrence-Richards

English teacher

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