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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Lotto Fever:

As a child in urban Knoxville, I would never have guessed that, sixteen years after my last day of high school, I would witness the advent of a lottery, complete with funding for higher education. But, that has become a reality. Tennessee, which often wishes it was some other state, has lustily modeled its lottery program after the Hope scholarship scheme of neighboring Georgia. Lotto-heads are fast gearing up for a rollout of September 1, with the help of Georgia, of course.

Now that voters have made a commitment to this endeavor, let's hope we learn a little something from our neighbors. Not just what to do, but what not to do. Namely, we should try to avoid the funding issues similar to what the Peach State is experiencing by requiring a little more from the scholarship recipients. A 3.0 GPA (on a scale of 4.0) OR a 19 of the ACT is not enough of a requirement. Some of the potheads in my high school had those credentials, and we had a higher ACT ladder to climb back then.

Whatever means is necessary, grade inflation and avoidance of more difficult classes should be discouraged. The solution? Establish a baseline for the core curriculum (something more stringent than the 3.0/19 requirement), require a minimum amount of "college level" classes, and lower the baseline (or add grade points) for those students who take such advanced placement classes as physics, calculus, or computer programming. With this as a guide, we should be able to fund higher education with the lottery, stay solvent, and encourage our kids to learn without the fear of failing, while reducing the chance that some will receive an inflated grade at the expense of others.


.: posted by Dave 6:23 PM

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