Opinion
Education Opinion

Letters

April 03, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Helping Parents Help Toddlers Read

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Parent-Child Home Program of Manhasset, N.Y., and similar preschool initiatives (“Home Visiting Program Helps Toddlers Fill Learning Gaps,” March 6, 2002). Studies have long shown the correlation between preschool literacy experiences and success in reading. Children who are exposed to literacy activities prior to entering school are able to acquire increased vocabulary, learn about conventions of print, and develop an understanding of the relationship between oral and written language.

A program such as the one profiled in your story provides at-risk children with opportunities they may not otherwise have. And with program workers acting as models and teaching parents and caregivers, these experiences can continue in the home.

It is my sincere hope that the powers that be will continue to see the big picture and not cut funding for programs such as these.

Colette Foran
Richmond, British Columbia
Canada

Oakland’s Charters: A Lesson for Us All

To the Editor:

It was very encouraging to read your article on charter schools and children from low- income families (“California Charters Are Seen to Benefit Children in Poverty,” March 13, 2002). As educators, we know that the best way out of poverty is an education that educates the whole person, one in which the student as well as his family can take real ownership of their school through active involvement with the whole school community.

Perhaps the new preliminary data suggesting the success of charter schools in fostering such a process can teach all of us a lesson, whether we represent public, parochial, or charter schools: When all parties concerned take ownership of their school, motivation grows. How many of our public schools fail because administrators expend more energy on the bureaucracy than on the students, thus discouraging the rest of the school community?

Here in Oakland, Calif., Mayor Jerry Brown has taken a particular interest in the Oakland Unified School District, and that interest has caused friction among those involved in the school system bureaucracy. The mayor successfully lobbied Gov. Gray Davis to allow certain charter schools to open, benefiting the city’s children who have special needs or find themselves in precarious life situations. Given the horrendous statistics of the shockingly low percentage of African-American males who graduate from high school in Oakland, someone had to step in and do something.

The charter schools seem to be working for special- needs students. Perhaps all schools can learn from their success, and allow parents, teachers, and administrators more of a say in how their schools are run. Taking ownership results in taking responsibility for one’s role within the school. Let us hope that this will lead to taking pride in one’s accomplishments as well.

John B. Huber
Oakland, Calif.

Teacher Quality Is What Matters Most

To the Editor:

I agree with Lewis C. Solmon and Kimberly Firetag (“The Road to Teacher Quality,” Commentary, March 20, 2002). The educational system in America will not improve by implementing yet another program, but by increasing teacher quality in the classroom.

I teach U.S. history at an inner-city school in San Diego. I have taught here for 10 years, virtually all of my teaching career. During that time, I have seen many different “programs” come and go. Only continuing professional development and training have increased student motivation, achievement, and success.

The most important aspect of a high-quality education is the relationship between student and teacher, and we must put all our resources into improving that. We might try, for example, to lower class sizes, provide continuing teacher training, and place educational assistants in all classrooms.

Having recently completed the portfolio process for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, I also can say that, although the process may take me two years to complete, it already has been the best professional- development project I’ve ever encountered.

More money needs to go toward encouraging, supporting, and rewarding teachers for undertaking this voluntary self-evaluation. It is rigorous, rewarding, challenging, and focused on student success and teacher accountability.

Angie Swartz
Hoover High School
San Diego, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the April 03, 2002 edition of Education Week as Letters

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)