Alabama has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country, but more than 30 percent of high school graduates have to take remedial courses to get into community college. We have students in middle school and high school who are reading on second-grade level. How do we fix that? It’s time to make the students accountable for themselves.

Once upon a time, a child did not pass to the next grade unless they had mastered the grade-level skills. The school systems are too worried about their “numbers” -- can’t have a high failure rate. I would be willing to bet that if the student knows he will be held back if he doesn’t do the work that is required, he’ll start doing the work.

We are not doing these children any favors by passing them on just to protect their self-esteem. We need to teach them accountability, what is acceptable and what is exceptional. Let’s teach to the child’s ability. Extra help for those students who need it and advanced classes for those who can excel and not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Our goal should not be based on the number of students graduating high school, but instead ensuring those students have the life skills and education they need to succeed as adults.

Karyn Green