To the Editor:
Reading Ann Evans de Bernard’s Commentary “When Is School Reform Not Reform?” (Feb. 5, 2014) once again returned me to the simplest of answers. And that is that children learn when they are happy!
Standards are pretty much useless—whether they are common-core, hard-core, or core-less—unless this basic element is addressed. And children are happy when their basic survival needs are met, when they are respected and cared for, when their natural and individual curiosities are piqued, and when they are not bored to tears with what is meaningless content followed by threatening and inappropriate testing galore.
It’s too bad that we don’t have many politicians from either major party who get this, and nary a wealthy philanthropist who understands it or will invest his or her vast resources in what would address any of it in a meaningful way. In fact, what these corporate types and their bought politicians are investing in will quite likely do more harm than good.
The author is a retired executive director of the Ohio Education Association and also served as the interim executive director of the Maine Education Association.
A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2014 edition of Education Week as Children Learn Best When They Are Respected, Happy