Friday, November 30, 2012
Americans believe high-quality public schools help build stronger families and improve local economics.
That was the finding of a poll commissioned by the Public Education Network.
Asked to cite the benefits of good public education for a community, 24 percent said good schools help build stronger families, making that the top choice.
The second impact cited, with 20 percent support of respondents, was that high-quality public schools improve the local economy by attracting businesses.
The third greatest impact, cited by 15 percent of those who responded, was that good schools lower crime rates.
Next came creating community pride, instilling civic values, boosting property values, and, most tellingly, “all of the above.”
Among parents of children 18 years or younger, 88 percent said that having good public schools in their community was important.
Of those without children, 84 percent still shared that belief.
It is heartening to know that quality schools were supported in such overwhelming numbers by members of the public. They clearly recognize the contributions of our schools to our communities and our society.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Feeling safe helps children feel confident that they can meet new people, try new tasks, and take on new responsibilities.
As children grow, they also need time to explore their own power and abilities. This means parents need to let go of some control and help their children take “healthy risks.”
How do parents help their children learn what it means to be more self-sufficient? Think about these questions:
How do your children work through their fears or doubts? How often do you do things with your children rather than for them?
What do your children do that makes you laugh or feel proud? Do they know it?
To help empower your children, tell them often that you appreciate what they do around the house, at school, and for friends.
When your children tell you about problems, confirm their feelings and help them think through solutions.
Encourage children to take new roles at school or try new activities that will be enjoyable but not stressful.
Let children take full responsibility for some chores. When you do your own chores, do them with good cheer even if they aren’t fun. Your children will learn from your example.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
America’s schools are teaching young people how to succeed in a complex and ever-changing world.
They are helping young people look beyond the problems and find new opportunities.
The world is different, and so are our schools. In fact, schools are being transformed in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
Many new techniques and new tools, like video-streaming, iPads, and other technology, are changing the way educators teach and students learn.
This is important in order to compete in a global economy and face modern challenges with up-to-date tools.
While schools are changing, community support and parental involvement remain key to the success of today’s students.
This is because America’s schools are everybody’s business. Their success is our nation’s best weapon against all future threats, be they economic, social, military, or strategic.
Take some time to visit a local school. See what’s going on.
Volunteer to help.
There’s no doubt that the future of our democracy and the health of our economy depend on what is happening in today’s classrooms.
Your support and assistance will make a tremendous difference.
Let’s all resolve to help.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Negativity appears everywhere in media reports because conflict makes news.
Violence and negativity also appear in movies, games, and music videos, mostly because the manufacturers consider it entertaining and are rewarded financially by producing this sort of content.
This negative bombardment can give a false impression to young people that the world around them is not very positive.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to find time to talk with children about good things.
Focus especially on what is positive in their neighborhood and their school.
Positive stories surround us if we make a point of looking for them – neighbors who’ve helped neighbors, people with worthy causes, and so forth.
It is also very clear from the research that developing a positive attitude in school-age children is important to success in the classroom.
In fact, hearing positive news can help your child feel good about school in general and schoolwork in particular.
Make it a special point to share your enthusiasm about students who help out and make a difference in the community.
By holding up those young people as a model, your children may then strive to be one of them.
That’s how the chain of compassion begins and that’s how we can help pass it along for future generations.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Volunteers make a huge difference in our public schools.
If done correctly, volunteering can provide invaluable support and help to students who are struggling, and can provide an extra set of hands, eyes, and ears, to teachers who are working hard to meet the needs of all students.
To help volunteers do their job even better, the state PTA created a code of ethics that includes the following items:
• While I may lack assets my coworkers have, I will not let this make me feel inadequate, and will still help develop good teamwork. My help is valued and important.
• I will find out how to best serve the activity for which I’ve volunteered, and will offer as much as I’m sure I can give, but not more.
• I must live up to my promise, and therefore will be careful that my agreement is so simple and clear it cannot be misunderstood.
• I will work with a professional attitude because I have an obligation to my task, to those who direct it, to my colleagues, to the students for whom it is done, and to the public.
These items are good practices for all volunteers to keep in mind as they strive to make a difference for children.
And that, of course, is the bottom line for all of us.