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Hillsdale Daily News: Walberg visits with county educators

January 30, 2013
Tim In The News
By: Matt Durr

As a member of the  U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. Tim Walberg spends a nice chunk of his time discussing educational issues in congress.

On Tuesday, Walberg spent time with educational leaders in Hillsdale County to talk about the issues facing county educators.

Walberg met with Hillsdale Intermediate School District Superintendent Mike Potts, HISD General Education Director Pat Dillon and Pittsford Superintendent Andy Shaw for more than an hour Tuesday at the Parke D. Hayes building.

The congressman inquired about the state of education in the county and what sorts of challenges the district faces. The main concern amongst the educators was the state's heavy reliance on standardized testing as a measurement of how well a school is doing.

"Our test scores are not at state averages," Dillon said, pointing out that they weren't far off from the average. "We put way too much into how well a school is doing based on standardized testing."
Dillon pointed out that in smaller districts, it only takes a handful poor scores to drastically lower the overall score of the school, thus making them appear to be inept as educators.

"All students are unique and should be educated in a unique way," Shaw said.

Dillon said that nearly 30 percent of high school students in the county are now involved with vocational programs, signaling a change in the way some students want their education. Walberg said he understood that not all students are going to hit the books hard and that vocational programs are a much needed asset in the school systems.

Potts said he thought there was still a lot of progress to be made and with the cost of technology lowering, he thinks students will continue to find new ways to learn the skills that interest them and will help them become productive citizens.

Walberg concurred.

"If we can just get back to the idea that education is a process ... that will be a reminder of how successful students can be," Walberg said.

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