State education leader promotes a better learning path

Pedro A. Rivera, state secretary of education, visited Lycoming College recently and got a lot of face time with student teachers and other parts of the school’s student body.

He came away impressed, which hardly surprises us, given Lycoming’s status as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges.

Beyond Lycoming College, the local community had quite an asset to present to Rivera in Jennifer Wahl, a teacher at Loyalsock Township School District and the state’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Perhaps the most impactful part of Rivera’s visit was his pushing of the state’s educational direction for the future.

He said the state plans to reduce the impact of standardized testing results on a school’s overall state performance. Educational growth will be given greater weight on measuring achievement in the future, Rivera said.

The state will be looking to make sure career and technical education programs are given greater value and will be pushing to establish career paths for children in elementary schools.

Those are all correct goals.

If thinking about a career at an early age seems to be a stretch, it’s worth noting that is the direction used in schools in most other parts of the world.

Testing is an important measure of a student’s ability, but it can’t be too heavily weighted in the full measure of ability. There are just too many variables that go into how well or poorly an individual student tests.

The ability to learn and comprehend and grow in knowledge also is important and may not be measurable in a test score.

The pathway to success, starting in elementary school, needs to be one that inspires rather than intimidates students.

If that’s the direction the state is headed, it’s a sound-minded path to be taking.