McCaa Uncut: DISD school for overage students a good idea

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by JOHN MCCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 13 at 8:49 PM

DALLAS - Usually, I back teachers in their concerns regarding schools and education, but this week, the Dallas Independent School District seems to have to have the best argument. It's this week's "Uncut" commentary.

There are 780 students in the district that are considered overage, some as old as 26 years old. In the future, the district wants to refuse admittance to those 21 or older, unless required by law.

Last year, those older students could be found in high schools with children. While the average DISD ninth grader was in their mid-teens, some were 19 to 21.

DISD now has a special campus for overage students at Nolan Estes Plaza. Some teachers have problems with that. Funding is tight. Support staff raises have been denied, and the school will add special costs for things like scheduling and child care.

But, there's something about adults in their 20s in class with 16 and 17-year-olds that just doesn't seem ideal to me. The gap between most people in those age ranges is just too great. And frankly, with the GED available, I'm amazed it's been going on this long.

I commend the adults who make a decision to return to school and get their diploma, but older students need a different place.  

I'm usually the first one to defend any teacher or staff raise or protection or hiring initiative. You want your kids to compete with youngsters around the world, you have to attract the best.

But, the first goal of schools should be about children's education, not jobs.

The teacher and the staff are key; but in this case, the kids should come first.

My thoughts, tell me yours: jmccaa@wfaa.com

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