I have just read the article profiling John Parker of the Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, school district [“Greener Pastures,” March/April]. In an era when the standardized test increasingly seems to be heralded as the one-stop fix for nearly every educational challenge, John Parker has determinedly and steadfastly championed good teaching and hands-on learning to develop creative, innovative thinkers, not just skilled test-takers.
I had the pleasure of getting to know John Parker while writing my book Electric Dreams, a true story in which he is featured as a central character. His faith in the strengths of his rural community and the capabilities of the students there inspire his teachers and students alike to believe, along with him, that anything is possible; in the story told in Electric Dreams, they proved him right.
People with John Parker’s passion and commitment are what our nation’s education system needs, far more than yet another test to smother the last embers of joy in learning among our schoolchildren.
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A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2005 edition of Teacher as Room To Grow