Congratulations to Bedford students for taking initiative

To the Editor:

Yet another of those international education comparisons, this one put out by the OECD last week, made note of the correlation between future national prosperity and what teenagers know and can do (www.bbc.com/news/business-32608772). The US was ranked a dismal 28th in student achievement. Asian countries occupied the top five spots, Estonia was 7th and Vietnam 12th.

Yet at their recent annual goal setting retreat, our local school board and administration once again shamefully, but predictably, completely dodged the issue of taking pro-active responsibility for raising the number of AP (Advanced Placement)/IB (International Baccalaureate) exam passes, which the community had asked them to do by its vote in 2013.

However, it seems that the message surrounding the 2013 warrant article, and the increased interest that it generated for advanced classes, has resonated loudly and clearly among students and parents in Bedford. The town has apparently set its own goal. AP/IB exams are currently in process, and the number of exam attempts has risen by a startling 41 percent, from 346 in 2014 to 488 this year. Furthermore, there are early indications that the number may increase again next year.

This outcome, while still well below what comparably wealthy communities in other countries might expect, is, nevertheless, great news. Students who pass these serious exams have not only sprinkled gold dust all over their own futures, but have also contributed to the likelihood of ongoing state and national well being.

I feel sure that the community will join with me in congratulating the students who have repaid our considerable investment in their education by committing to the high level of academic effort required to participate in AP/IB examinations. Just imagine what our kids could achieve, and the example they might set for the rest of the state, if only the folks in charge would pull enthusiastically in the same direction.

Richard Evans

Bedford