Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What else can we do beside NCLB ?

Here is one idea that I posted a year ago. Recently I have read others' ideas that have led me to the formation of my ideas as they stand today. Unfortunately it takes money. Many are talking these days about universal pre-school. I take this to mean mandatory preschool. What I would like to see is pre-school made available for all that wish it. This should be free or at the very least at a sliding scale. Head start as originally conceived is what everyone needs. That is, not only high quality education for young children, but education for the parents as well. Education in how to create a home environment that will help to insure success in school. Money will be needed to set up these programs, for teacher training and buildings and supplies. Likewise money will be needed to train teachers in underfunded impoverished schools, especially in the inner cities. Money will be needed to create buildings that are safe, sound learning environments. Money will be needed for books and supplies in these same schools.

Many people have mentioned the need for adequate affordable healthcare and a living wage for all. I do not have the answer here but, how can a sick, hungry child be expected to learn? And I believe that "healthcare" means emotional care as well. We need to offer all sorts of help to get and keep families out of crisis. Children in crisis can not learn.

What we do not need is more blame on teachers and students. We do not need more tests. We do not need more punishment.
I believe that conservatives will heartily disagree with what I say here. They might say, "No, I do not pay taxes to help people who won't help themselves. " Just like they are currently saying, "I do not want to pay taxes to put other peoples children through school." Is this the kind of society that we really want? I do not think so. Tests and punishment will not make our schools better, but a hand up offered to those that want and need it just might.

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