Cape needs to focus on the basics

August 2, 2013

An effort to add an elective course at Cape Henlopen High School focusing on the Bible has failed to garner enough support from school board members to move forward. A tie vote was the best the effort could produce, and that ensured failure. Board member Noble Prettyman, absent for medical reasons, also told the Cape Gazette he would have voted against the effort had he been able to attend.

Failure of the motion is in keeping with the negative recommendation from the school district’s curriculum committee and administration. Forget the politically charged nature of suggesting a course on the Bible; the recommendations of the curriculum committee and the administration - the professional staff - should have been enough to put this issue aside.

Over the past several years, Cape Henlopen School District has cut back on its administrative and teaching staff due to budgetary constraints. Now the district is looking to build a new middle school and eying aging buildings needing serious attention. Given that scenario, now is no time to overrule professional staff members and charge them to find the time and resources necessary to add a controversial elective course.

If money is available for adding new courses, then certainly there is money available to add the teaching and technology necessary to ensure that every one of our graduating seniors has a high level of reading, writing and basic math proficiency when they receive their diplomas each June. Does anyone truly believe that is now the case? Surely all of the Sussex County employers who say that high school graduates are coming to them without adequate basic skills are not making up stories.

No one disputes the Bible has played a significant role in the culture of our nation. But we as a community need to know that every graduate can read the Bible and any other book, understand what they are saying, write about them intelligently and discuss them critically because of the solid foundational education received in Cape Henlopen School District. Without those skill guarantees, any further discussion of adding electives will be irresponsible.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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