Day-by-day improvements are needed | Letter to the editor

The gist of Steve Fradkin’s recent letter to the Review is “Bainbridge High School is good enough.” Whatever happened to “the pursuit of excellence”?

Fradkin asks why we should care about Bainbridge High being the best, and how we can even define this.

Let’s start with one definition of that, scholarship. Fact: we have some of the weakest programs for highly capable students in all of Puget Sound. Fact: from 2002 to 2015, Mercer Island High School had twice as many National Merit Semifinalists as Bainbridge High School, even though the two schools have had about the same enrollment. Our students are doing more poorly because they are not as challenged, beginning in the lower grades and continuing up through the high school.

Fradkin should really address his question about the definition of excellence to Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen, who formerly managed the International School in Bellevue, one of several high schools in the state that consistently tops Bainbridge in the rankings. What can Bang-Knudsen tell us about why other schools do better?

In his followup to Tom Peter’s work on excellence, management expert Jim Collins describes companies that have moved from “good to great” as treating change as a constant, making small but continuous improvements day to day, like getting the merry-go-round on a playground to spin faster and faster by giving it small but constant pushes. That’s what we need here, but that starts with a desire to be better.

Fradkin does say we need a community conversation on how to improve our schools, and there is an ideal opportunity for that this summer and fall, in the school board elections. More challengers are taking on the incumbents than at any time in the last 20 years. Some of the candidates are just cheerleaders, people who see their primary job as simply supporting the status quo. Hopefully some of the candidates want to be change leaders, people who will push for more.


Bainbridge Island

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor

Whites not looked at first by the color of their skin

Outrage is appropriate

Sending the military to teargas peaceful protestors exercising their constitutional rights for… Continue reading

Ethical meatpacking is essential

This letter is responding to “Rise above it all: Bainbridge slowly learning… Continue reading

Remembering Joyce Veterane

Joyce Veterane, a long time fixture in the Bainbridge Island community, passed… Continue reading

People of color don’t want resolutions from city council

In response to the June 9 city council meeting regarding the Race… Continue reading

With thousands dead, Trump thinks only of himself

How did we ever end up with someone as unsuited to be… Continue reading

Listen seriously to those who wish harm

I’m writing with regards to the person who said the only good… Continue reading

Leaders in Congress must hear our voices | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Perfect timing to suggest we spend money to save… Continue reading

Join the Citizens Climate Lobby team | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Snowy Cascade and Olympic mountains are bright and clear… Continue reading

An apology to those who were protesting | Letter to the editor

To the editor: This is an open letter to the people protesting… Continue reading

Thoughtful leadership is desperately needed | Letter to the editor

To the editor: My wish for Mother’s Day this year — that… Continue reading

I should have asked: Why not wear masks? | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Why aren’t you protecting my life? While at Bainbridge… Continue reading