To the Editor:
I would like to add my voice to John Merrow’s Commentary “Reclaiming America, One 1st Grader at a Time” (Dec. 3, 2008).
Having spent 20 years teaching grades K-3, I decided to devote the last 10 years of my teaching career to helping 1st graders become successful readers. It was clear to me that this would be the most critical professional contribution I could possibly make to students. Having each child leave my class reading on grade level—and not on a list for remediation—was my goal. Rather than relying on subsequent teachers to “fix” any students who couldn’t read, I committed myself to making certain my youngsters were never viewed as “broken” by virtue of their lack of reading ability.
Too often in our discussions of reforming schools, we forget that educational success happens one child at a time. Committed parents feel this passionately. Good teachers know this intuitively. Kudos to Mr. Merrow for stating this obvious but often overlooked truth.
A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2009 edition of Education Week as Merrow Commentary Reminds Us of An ‘Obvious But Overlooked Truth’