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No Excuses, but substantial reasons

Posted By: Leigh Brumberg on February 18, 2004
I have worked with young people both as a probation officer and as a classroom teacher. Armor is right on the money in identifying the "family" as crucial in preparing children for school as well as serving to support them in their scholastic efforts.

There are, in reality, two families: the one at home (including its extensions) and the one at school. They must work together. Rampant high stakes testing mania and it's offshoot, prescriptive (one-size-fits-all) teaching are not going to bring about equitable achievement. Simply complaining about "those parents" isn't going to get it either. Partnership/engagement based on mutual regard and acceptance of hard facts (such as SES's impact on achievement) is what both families require in order to make any headway.

America must examine the purpose of "education" before anything can happen. Do we really want an informed, enlightened, critically thinking electorate? Are we out to produce the worker of the 21st century? Do we want to maximize each child's chances for self-actualization? What is it exactly that we envision?

Once we come to a well-reasoned conclusion, is there going to be the kind of willingness and commitment to task-force the solutions necessary to tackle the challenge?

No Child Left Behind? Please. Let's stop playing games, word- or otherwise. This is serious business. How many more research studies do we need in order to conclude that racial prejudice, poverty, and elitist socio-political snobbery are fundamental causes of too many of our children's academic (and, therefore, life) failure?

We need to stop looking at education as a soft, non-revenue producing burden. And, by the way, teachers are no longer "school marms". Education, not celebrity worship, is THE KEY to our nation's future. We must decide what we want and then go about making it happen. That most definitely includes having respect for each child, each teacher, and each family.

Leigh A. Brumberg, M.A.
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 No Excuses, but substantial reasons by Leigh Brumberg on February 18, 2004
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