Monday, November 17, 2014

Reaching kids

Radio Commentary

There is a quote I really like that says: “Either we teach our children, or we abandon the future to chance and nonsense.”

You don’t have to tell that to parents or educators. Both groups are well aware of the responsibilities they shoulder.

A Gallup Poll on Americans’ attitudes toward public schools reconfirmed a perception that has held steady for more than two decades: the public gives only average marks to the nation’s public schools, but predominantly A’s or B’s to the schools their own children attend.

We hear reports about the demise of public education, but the schools parents see for their own children — for whom they are the world’s strongest advocates — they rate above average or excellent. Think about that.

Educators recognize that challenges remain, and work remains, until all students reach their potential and until the achievement gap is truly closed.

The one irrefutable truth we have learned from educational research over the years is that every child learns differently. Some must read information to “get” it. Others must hear it, and others need hands-on approaches.

Some do much better in small groups, while others require the one-to-one attention of a teacher or tutor. Most children benefit from a mix of techniques.

The trick for educators lies in identifying the needs of each student and providing strategies to meet those various needs. Not an easy task.

Reform efforts continue. I’ve always considered teachers our unsung heroes and heroines for the work they do, every day, to reach and teach our children. They deserve our support and appreciation.