By Jay Burns: Guest columnist
I have often heard my peers, local residents and incoming Cannon Air Force Base personnel remark about the poor quality of education this district provides.
After all, Clovis High has failed to meet state testing standards for several consecutive years now, and the graduation rate is far from perfect.
However, based on my experience as a CHS graduate, I feel statistics cannot accurately convey the quality of education one has the opportunity to receive through Clovis schools.
Adequate Yearly Progress performance and graduation rates are poor indicators that look merely at an average. This does not reflect the opportunities available for students at CHS.
Advanced Placement classes are available in most subjects, some of which are dual credit through Clovis Community College. Free tutoring is available through the Student Success Center.
Most of the athletic programs are consistently competitive on the state level. There are several service organizations on campus, including the Honor Society, Key club, and Interact club. Our music program is among the best in the country and competes on a national level.
When I decided during my sophomore year that I wanted to pursue an engineering degree at a selective university, I knew it was going to be difficult. I have since found it would have been impossible without the knowledge, support, and dedication of my instructors. I was always able to get the help I needed when trying to master a subject. My counselor worked hard to make sure I was on track to be successful, and was a great resource during my college application process.
I am currently studying electrical engineering at the University of Notre Dame. It is a very different environment from what I experienced in high school.
Over half of my peers graduated from private schools, where graduation rates are often 100 percent. However, I do not feel disadvantaged because of my background. Most of the classes I took my freshman year of college covered material I had already learned in AP classes.
At times, I feel very fortunate to have graduated from CHS. When I auditioned for the marching band, I already had three years of experience in a very competitive marching band, whereas many of my private-schooled friends had never marched before.
The best way to prevent students from dropping out and improve test scores is for parents to push their kids to graduate. Lowering graduation standards and punishing teachers and administrators for AYP performance that is often out of their control only hurts the students that are trying to go on to college, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
My AP classmates came from every ethnicity and income level that exists at CHS. However, we were all afforded the same opportunities to be successful and we worked hard to utilize them.