Southern Appalachia Schools

 Bill Torrey Grave Marker

It would have been labeled a failing school, but in the 1970s, the disingenuous scheme by which composite test scores for the entire student body are used to label schools as failing had yet to be devised. Like many elementary schools, here in Southern Appalachia, in the 1970s, relatively low enrollment forced the placement of students of varying academic ability functioning at, above, and below grade level into the same classroom. The one size fits all education model in practice, at the time, served some students well and failed others miserably. Student's outcomes in adult life have been as varied as levels of ability and academic functioning were then. In many ways, I became an educated person in spite of, rather than as a result of, my experiences there.

Realistically, every public school can be expected to produce students who score both high and low and everywhere in between on tests of academic functioning. Unlike private schools, public schools cannot screen prospective students. In all fairness, a low-test score on an academic achievement test may reflect a high degree of achievement for a pupil of limited ability.

The phrase “High Stakes Test” most likely was not part of the vernacular in 1931, but the concept held tragic meaning for one student. By all accounts, reported in the November 19, 1931 edition of The LaFollette Press, Bill Torrey had done well at LaFollette High School. The headline read “Popular Local U-T Student Ends Own Life”. A chemistry examination pad bearing a grade of “46” was found on his body.

Eighty-three years later, it is unlikely that efforts on our part could garner enough information to make a more definitive determination as to why he took his own life than the one offered by his family in The Press, December 3, 1931, “When it was decided that he could go to U.T. he was very happy, worked hard to master his lessons and when he failed to pass as he expected to, it crushed his intense desire to make good and knowing the sacrifice and sympathy and love that parents, brother, and sisters had made to help him, he gave up the battle.”

Speakers at Torrey's funeral included LaFollette City Schools Superintendent Pat Kerr, who described Torrey as a student who “dared to be different and dared to do his own thinking”. According to Kerr, “He cared for the realities of life and was a non-conformist” and “the faculty always loved Bill for his originality”.

LaFollette High School must have had an outstanding faculty in the early 1930s, because it has been my experience that students are often not “loved for their originality” much less for doing their own thinking. For example, one of my college professors required students to complete parallel readings and turn in a written summary. I assumed that included introducing topics, discussing them, and reaching conclusions about what had been read. Apparently, her expectation was that students would simply read the assignments and parrot back what they had read on paper, because she informed me after I had completed the assignments, that I was not qualified to reach conclusions on the readings. Apparently, her students, soon to teachers themselves, were to be expected to fly on autopilot, once out in the classroom, rather than thinking for themselves. Perhaps unknowingly she was preparing tomorrow's teachers for today's mindless testing and data compilation.

Students of all ages are under more pressure than ever to score well on tests. Compounding the problem teachers are expected to produce entire classrooms of high scorers. Compounding things even further, politicians and pundits are demanding the same of entire student bodies and entire school systems.

High Stakes tests are very much a reality of our day. No student of any age should be made to feel like an abject failure as the result of a test score. It is our hope that today’s parents and other influential adults will help pupils to keep things in perspective. Teachers, like the spectators to the parade, in the familiar childhood tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, dare not state the obvious when school administrators perform their magic using sticky notes and data boards.

This is an election year. Ours is the opportunity to insist on common sense rather than Common Core coming out of Nashville and Washington D.C.

Writer's Note. September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

Writer’s Note: Twenty-four-hour support is available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The site offers a Chat with Lifeline service at the bottom of the homepage.

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Events

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 10:00
Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 18:00
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018 6:00 p.m. Union County High School

Agenda

1. Discuss School Trips

2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer

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6. Discuss Teacher Tenure—Dr. Carter

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Obituary

Glen thomas Kitts

Glenn Thomas Kitts, age 91, of Knoxville passed away on Thursday, October 18, 2018. He Served his County well as a United States Marine during World War II era. He retired from the Knoxville Transit Lines after 52 years. He coached little league at Fountain City Ball Park for ten plus years. Preceded in death by wife Barbara Jean Kitts; Sons Martin Thomas Kitts and Gary Steven Kitts; grandson T.J. Lewis and Chris Turner; parents Arlie and Jessie Kitts; four brothers; and four sisters.

Kenneth "Kenny" David Coffman

Kenneth “Kenny” David Coffman, age 48 of Luttrell, Tennessee went home to be with the Lord on October 18, 2018. He is preceded in death by his grandparents Maynard & Eva Coffman and Millard & Cora Munsey. He is survived by parents Rev. Donnie and Lola Coffman; brothers Ricky (Sharon) Coffman and Donnie (Sherry) Coffman; nieces Kayla (Jamie) Moore and Danielle (Matt) Tindell; nephews Brandon (Miriah) Coffman and Josh (Mary) Coffman; great nephews Brylan, Wesley, Brentley, Hudson, Branson and Bobby; great nieces Ellis and Emersyn. Also survived by uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends.

Dewey Keck

Dewey (Merl) Keck-age 74 of Corryton, born October 18, 1944 passed away Friday, October 19, 2018 at his home. Preceded in death by parents, George and Mary Keck.

Survivors: wife, Joyce Keck; daughters, Robin Carringer; Doris (Greg) Selvidge; grandchildren, Ashley White, Tiffany Grooms; great-grandchild, Brayden Chaney.

Rueben Scott Holloway

Rueben Scott Holloway-age 55 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday night, October 17, 2018 at Select Specialty Hospital at North Knoxville Medical Center. Preceded in death by parents, Bill and Sarah Holloway; wife Darla Holloway; children, Amber, Willie, Erin and Reanna Holloway.

Survived by best friend, Trusty; sisters, Jackie (Jerry) Clapp; Brenda (Tim) Wyrick; brothers, Russell (Mary) Holloway and Paul Holloway; friends, Linda Waggoner and Violet Ward. Special aunts, Brenda Stone, Beulah Hayes, Carolyn Langley and Susie Langley. Several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Catrina Kailynn Maggard

Catrina Kailynn Maggard-age 18 of Knoxville passed away Saturday morning, October 13, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center as the result of an automobile accident. She was a graduate of Gibbs High School, 2018 Class. She was a loving daughter and friend, full of life and always had a smile on her face. Preceded in death by grandfather, Frank Maggard; great-grandmother, Grace Lynn.

Deborah Marlene Lynch

Debra Marlene Lynch
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Debra Marlene Lynch was born in Detroit, Michigan to Helen and Nolan Graves on April 26, 1959. -Marlene’s parents meant the world to her. Her father, Nolan was her personal hero and her mother, Helen was her measuring stick for how a Christian woman should live. Marlene had one sibling, Keith Graves. She loved her younger brother very much and often spoke of Keith’s big heart.

Lowen Denver Foust

Lowen “Denver” Foust – age 82 of Maynardville, passed away at his home on October 16, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was a Korean War Veteran and served in the United States Navy. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Maynardville.

Glen Wayne Yadon

Glen Wayne Yadon of Luttrell was born on October 29, 1954 and went to be with Jesus on October 15, 2018 peacefully in his sleep. Glen was a member of Nave Hill Missionary Baptist Church. He loved big! He had a heart of gold, never met a stranger and would help anyone that he could.

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