Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Schools and skills

Radio Commentary

There is no thrill quite like the one that comes from mastering a challenge.
Remember the first time you realized the marks on a page were words, and you could understand them?
Or the first time you looked through a microscope, played an instrument, or understood what someone was saying in another language?
U.S. schools seek to give that same opportunity to every child every day by helping students set high standards and specific goals.
Education also gives students life skills like self-discipline, patience, and knowledge about the importance of sharing. Students learn to pay attention when others are speaking.
Many schools also teach children how to solve disagreements through conflict resolution. Extracurricular activities, from student government offices to volunteer projects, also offer chances to learn life skills.
Author Thomas Henry Huxley wrote: “Perhaps the most valuable result of education is the ability to make yourself do the things you have to do, when they ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”
And former Xerox CEO David Kearns added: “Education not only imparts the great lessons of history, citizenship, and science, it also teaches people to think, to solve problems, to take risks, to be an entrepreneur, and an innovator.”
That is, in fact, the great strength of the American public school system and always has been. It deserves our support.