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January 21, 2004 3 min read
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Education R&D Efforts: Expand, Don’t Duplicate

To the Editor:

The National Education Knowledge Industry Association supports the Strategic Education Research Partnership and its efforts to expand the nation’s research and development system for education (“Research Group Taps Director; Sets Agenda on Studies,” Dec. 10, 2003.)

The effort by SERP is part of a larger national movement to promote knowledge utilization in education, a task that for more than three decades has been successfully led by the federally funded regional education labs and research centers. This current R&D infrastructure is helping schools and teachers link knowledge generated from research to education practice. SERP’s proposed system must complement the existing infrastructure, and it should not strain federal research budgets by duplicating what is already in place.

Both NEKIA and SERP recognize that new investments must be made now if our nation truly hopes to boost student performance and close the achievement gap. Unfortunately, funding for education research and development remains at deplorably low levels despite the ever-increasing demands for education research. While the No Child Left Behind Act requires educators to use instructional practices based on scientifically valid research, such practices are not widely used.

Given that thousands of public schools are not making adequate yearly progress as required by the No Child Left Behind law, steps must be taken to respond to this emerging national capacity crisis and meet the demand for research-based instruction.

In 2004, NEKIA will respond to this crisis with a national leadership initiative designed to promote the use of education knowledge nationwide. Along with the SERP proposal, our initiative will have the potential to significantly increase the use of research-based knowledge to the benefit of children and teachers nationwide.

Wesley A. Hoover
Board Chair
National Education Knowledge
Industry Association
President and CEO
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL)
Austin, Texas

Why Not Hold Marches For Good Behavior?

To the Editor:

The photographs that accompany your article “Drug Sweep Sparks Lawsuits, Investigations,” Jan. 7, 2004, show a crowd of mostly African- American students protesting a police drug bust (that turned up nothing) at a South Carolina high school. What disturbs me more than the precipitate action of the police, however, is that crowds come out for such protests, yet there are no similar marches for working hard in school or helping in the community.

We should have marches with banners proclaiming that those who come to school unprepared to work are not what a community is all about. The other stuff should be dealt with quietly. What should be most prominently highlighted is the community’s devotion to hard work in school, not its willingness to march for questionable behavior, no matter how badly this particular incident was handled.

Elliot Kotler
Ossining, N.Y.

A Foreign Student on U.S. Language Study

To the Editor:

I am an international student studying for a master’s degree in education, and I have just read, with surprise and wonder, your article on how arts and foreign-language study are losing ground in test- geared school curricula (“Arts, Foreign Languages Getting Edged Out,” Nov. 5, 2003.)

While other countries, realizing the impact of globalization, promote language study, some even requiring that students learn at least two foreign languages, America seems to be trying to eliminate it from the curriculum. I have even read a joke in my university’s newspaper that goes like this: “We call people who speak three languages, trilingual; two languages, bilingual; and one language, American.”

American students lack knowledge about other countries, languages, cultures, traditions, and much more. Many undergraduate students, I have found, do not know the difference between Thailand and Taiwan, or Monaco and Morocco. That is not only a shame but a crisis.

Many Americans these days are asking, “Why don’t other countries like us?” In fact, they do like you. But the lack of any cross-culture communication skills gives you a big problem with others around the world.

American education has many strong points, but there’s one thing you have forgotten. As Disney would say it, “It’s a small world.”

Alissa Prangpatanpon
Villanova, Pa.

A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2004 edition of Education Week as Letters

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