"Student outcomes" proposed last week by a Lawrence school panel include some worthy goals, but achieving each of them could present a tall order, some Lawrence High School students say.
It was Jan. 14 that the Exit Outcome Task Force proposed a list of the skills and characteristics that students should have when they graduate from high school. The proposals, which will be further reviewed by the school board and the community, describe characteristics that should be developed throughout students' 13-year education.
Some LHS students interviewed Wednesday said they understood the expectation that students would learn traditional subjects, but the panel's proposal goes beyond those traditional areas.
KRISTIN HINES, LHS junior, said that despite their best efforts, teachers could face difficulty getting students to appreciate a multicultural society or to accept responsibility for protecting the environment.
"It's really up to the students whether they're going to be like this," Hines said. "There are always going to be people who don't listen."
She agreed that efforts to educate students in such areas should not start in high school.
LHS senior Sarah Ramsay said there already are some classes limited to high school seniors that should be open to students earlier on. She mentioned as examples a psychology class and a college preparatory reading and study skills class.
LHS SOPHOMORE Adrien Vlach said he was bothered by one proposal calling for students to demonstrate "ethical behavior."
"Everybody has their own idea of what is ethically correct," Vlach said. "You can't push anybody's ethics on to other people."
He also questioned the feasibility of measuring students' development of self-esteem, saying, "Self-esteem goes in ups and downs for most teen-agers."
Senior O.J. Bell said the attitude of some students toward school must undergo change before they could be expected to strive for some of the goals. He said addressing troubled family situations and other societal problems would play a role in that effort.
"If you have a negative attitude going into something, then it's just going to make everything negative all around," Bell said.
Bell said he liked the goal of creating an appreciation for a multicultural society among students.
"It's something for everybody to be involved in. It's good to know about someone else's culture," he said.
OF THE GOALS, sophomore Vanessa Treul said, "A lot of it's common sense, things that parents should have taught students. But if schools have to do it, they should be prepared to.
"A lot of parents need to read this stuff, too."
Treul said she especially liked the goal of helping students to adapt "acquired knowledge, skills and behaviors in a changing environment and work place," and another of helping students develop reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
"All these are things to keep updated with society. Everyone needs to work on all of these," she said.