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Re: “Former Governor's School leader objects to change in nature, location of program

As an alum of the 1982 Arkansas Governor's School, I can say that it was the first time I'd felt intellectually challenged in years. Routinely, I finished homework assignments in class and tests before most of my classmates at school. My grades were always great. My sophomore and junior years in high school were boring, not because I had bad teachers, they're were actually really good, but because it wasn't challenging.

Fast forward to the summer of 1982. "You can do whatever else you want, but you are GOING TO THINK!" I remember one of our classes being scheduled for an hour, but we missed lunch the first day because we didn't want to stop discussing the topic. I remember getting mad at the instructors because they challenged me to defend my beliefs, and then madder at myself when I realized I couldn't. But then I learned how to defend my beliefs FROM those very same instructors. Far from changing my beliefs, they helped me develop the deep understanding to grow even stronger in what I believe.

Don't worry about gifted students being exposed to topics you don't think they're ready to handle. They've probably already digested more information on those topics than you could ever imagine. (There's this thing called the internet now. We had to go find books!) They need discussion with other intellectuals to process that information. All you can do is delay that. You can't stop it.

Governor's School is not going to turn your Christian children into liberal atheist zombies. I left stronger in my faith, and better able to explain it, than ever before. I also developed the confidence to look at adults, mostly in government, who demanded blind faith and obedience to their beliefs and their rules and to say, "I'm gonna need to see some evidence to support that, bucko!"

Putting a large group of high school juniors on a campus with college students is not only a recipe for disaster (Can you say, "statutory rape?"), it's also going to introduce a distraction to AGS students that will make it nearly impossible to form the community they need. Governor's School is as much about helping awkward students learn vital social skills as it is developing critical thinking, reasoning, and debating skills.

Please, if you want to create a pre-AP technical program in Russellville, do it. But the Arkansas Governor's School is not broken ... PLEASE stop trying to fix it.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by TOJJ on 09/11/2018 at 7:47 PM


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