Monday, August 4, 2008

A few moments on the soapbox

The Knitternall Clan has returned to Dunwoody, with memories of NYC flashbacking like the neon signs in Times Square.  We had a really nice time and managed to get in and out of LaGuardia and Hartsfield despite multiple thunderstorms, airport shutdowns, baggage backlogs, and other mainstays of summer travel.

I worked  on the Central Park Hoodie and have made it through the back and left front; the right front is well underway. I think it'll be finished for fall (which, in the South, often comes after Halloween).  With weather delays and cancelled flights, I had lots of time in the plane for knitting. 

While the kids were exploring Nintendo World (nirvana for A), I chatted with a mom from New Jersey. We talked about the coming school year and she was astonished that ours was starting in just a week, during the peak heat of the season. 

And now, a brief moment for the soapbox . .

High standards in teaching, curriculum, resources, and achievement are absolutely essential to a quality education system. No Child Left Behind isn't that system.  

It is disingenuous to believe that every kid can master every subject.  Can a CPA write prose like Hemingway? Can an acclaimed dancer solve advanced calculus problems with aplomb? Can a child who cannot speak or understand English comprehend a word problem in an English-language-only math test sufficiently to provide a correct answer?  Can someone with profound dyslexia read and process a story and answer questions in a strictly limited, timed test?

Federal mandates cannot legislate ability . . . or behavior. The connection between home and school is critical, but it isn't enforceable. 

We're very fortunate here in Dunwoody to have superb schools for our children.  Parent involvement has been integral to achievement. My kids have had and continue to benefit from amazingly gifted and well prepared teachers.  In spite of changing education theories du jour, they're thriving and advancing through each progressively challenging year. There are, naturally, areas of weakness, primarily among financially and linguistically disadvantaged children.  We're working on that.  As a community, we want every child to succeed. Too bad our hands are tied by state and federal mandates. In a perfect school system, we'd have a variety of education options, including trades and comprehensive English language classes, that we could custom fit to our specific needs. 

Maybe someday. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I live in a neighborhood with a lot of families for whom English is their second language. Why not take advantage of the richness of the various cultures instead of trying to erase them? Not just one language - several, including their native tongue and English. 9stepping off soapbox)


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