[Letters]The problem with ranking high schools

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[Letters]The problem with ranking high schools

I deeply deplore the sentiments expressed in the editorial “Academic autonomy” on Dec. 2. The writer says it is absurd to evaluate the achievements of high school students across the country with an identical yardstick while differences in academic performance and characteristics among schools clearly exist. Until now, universities have expressed strong objections to the government’s policy that banned high school ranking.

If their claim is rightfully founded, what are the impartial, objective standards that should be used to measure each school’s level?

There is no proof that high-level students in a special-purpose high school are much better than regular students at an ordinary high school. To rank high schools, they need to use concrete, convincing methods to measure each school’s level. I am not sure that there is an equal and clear-cut difference between each level.

It is tremendously unfair for some students who do not have a chance to get a better education because of their parents’ financial condition. The rank of schools can be decided by parents’ ability, not only by students’ ability. It is regretful for students to be affected by their parents’ status in the society. In a similar context, it is also unfortunate for their future to be decided by their seniors who have graduated from the same high school.

Universities already have a way to select excellent students through the College Scholastic Ability Test. Also, they have announced that they will conduct their own admission exams starting from 2010.

I think they have enough tools to select the students they want. I hope that they do not think these tests have shortcomings as decent instruments of measuring students’ potential.

If universities insist on ranking high schools, that is because they want to place preference on students from special-purpose high schools in the admissions process.

As we know from the example at Korea University, they showed preference to students from these kinds of schools. For them, there are just two different levels, special-purpose high schools or ordinary high schools.

They must stop trying to bring capitalistic logic into education. Schools are the place where youngsters build their dreams and learn how to cooperate with people. If competition comes into the classrooms and students have to be obsessed with test scores, where can they learn to feel?

Lee Jung-ran. middle school teacher in Seoul

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