If a slice of pumpkin pie is good, then eating the whole pie must be better.
It's a silly notion, but that seems to be the reasoning behind a proposal to increase the number of credits required for a student to graduate from high school.
We're all for raising standards, but more is not automatically better.
More is not necessarily bad either, but in the case of high school credits, it's questionable whether heaping on additional requirements is the right focus - at least for now.
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Quality, not quantity, is the more immediate problem.
The state Board of Education wants to increase the number of credits required for a high school diploma from 19 to 24. That would represent a 26 percent increase if most schools didn't already require more credits than the minimum.
The proposal still needs the Legislature's approval. Even then, money to implement the changes won't be available until the state budget crisis ends.
Our skepticism regarding the plan for more classes isn't an endorsement of the status quo.
Our education system is failing far too many of Washington's children and thereby failing our communities.
At the same time, many of our kids are failing the system.
In countries that don't provide universal education, only the most affluent or determined students attend school. When it's a privilege to be educated, learning becomes a priority.
When kids are forced to go to school, some will take their education for granted.
We wouldn't trade compulsory education for any other system, but we'd like to bottle the thirst for knowledge that comes from having to work for it.
If there were a way to infuse every student with a love for learning, requiring an extra math class wouldn't be an issue.
While we were at it, we'd give a dose of the same medicine to every parent and teacher. Most students don't fail without some help along the way.
Sobering numbers from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction show that 54 percent of the beginning students at Washington's technical and community colleges require remediation right out of high school at a cost of $17 million.
There's a huge gap between what is good enough to finish high school and good enough to start college.
It is discouraging that our youth can graduate from Pasco High and not be prepared to enter Columbia Basin College.
We're not picking on Pasco, but it's the leader in the Tri-Cities in credits required for graduation.
The state's current minimum is 19 credits, but Pasco and Chiawana require 22.
Kennewick schools require 21 credits and Richland/Hanford grads need 21.5.
So are Pasco kids better prepared for college with the extra credits?
Statistics say they're not.
We don't have answers. But we are afraid the state isn't asking the right question.
If what we're doing now isn't working, how can more of it be the answer?