Editorial: A campus far from exemplary — Field Elementary in Dallas Dallas Morning News Editorials - Opinion and Commentary for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News
In third grade, the world opens to children. They learn about magnets and volcanoes, frogs and ladybugs, the marvels of the solar system. They are introduced to biographies and to the lofty concept that people can, through their deeds, change communities. These essential lessons in science and social studies build on themselves, year after year.
It is only when you look at this rich curriculum that you can appreciate the injustice inflicted on the children at Tom W. Field Elementary School in northwest Dallas. For an entire year, third-graders were essentially denied science and social studies instruction in favor of math and reading, all so they could improve their scores on standardized tests and earn the school a high ranking.
The intense pressure to boost student performance has produced some bizarre results around the nation, but short of outright cheating, few examples rise to the level of what took place at Field. By fiat, the principal declared that the required curriculum simply did not apply. Science and social studies instructors instead were forced to focus on math and reading. Music and gym were sacrificed. To compound matters, false grades were entered for the subjects that were not taught.