As you may be well aware of, the state of public education in America paints a grim picture of our children’s futures in a global marketplace. Despite continual efforts by the federal government, school organizations, and of course, the blood, sweat, and tears of the many talented and dedicated teachers who instruct our youngsters day after day, our country is falling dangerously behind when it comes to academics. Need proof? The facts speak for themselves.
Summer is in full swing for most of the country by now. If your child is anything like mine, he’s slept in late, has a nice tan going, and has already had a ton of outdoor fun. What you may not realize though, is that while your little one is engaged in all of these summer festivities, he may actually be moving backwards academically.
It’s July and summer is in full swing for many families: vacation, pool time, BBQs, beach trips, summer movies, keeping pests out of the garden (or is it just me?). But I was surprised when a Facebook teacher friend posted about going back to work this week, with students starting school on July 5th. Seriously? Summer has just begun! My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a little research.
March is a great month to reflect on how you promote reading at home or in the classroom. Promote? Yes, we have to continue to encourage youngsters to read! Reading is competing for attention against video games and phone apps. Reading development is paramount to literacy, and children don’t come hardwired for reading – they have to learn how to do it. And in order for them to learn, it has to be taught.
I don’t think most parents have a clue how important they are to their child’s early reading success. Reading readiness begins from the moment your child is born – can you believe it? Children absorb and begin to learn language from birth, even when they are not yet communicating verbally. By the time children begin school, most of their neural pathways for letter sounds may already be set!
Wow, have I been getting an education in social media lately! There is so much out there I didn’t even know about a year ago (okay, 2 months ago). I had a Facebook account, knew about Twitter, watched some YouTube videos, and had heard about writing blogs, but had no idea those are just the tip of the iceberg – there are hundreds of social media sites connecting people today. When do people have time for all of this?
I noticed in the newspaper the other day that registration for kindergarten is beginning next month in a nearby school district. Apparently students now have to be 5 years old by September 1st if enrolling for the 2012-2013 school year. So, it looks like the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 is finally taking affect for the coming school year in California. When I checked to see what the kindergarten cut-off dates were in other states, I found that a majority of U.S. states appear to already have birth date requirements in August and September. It surprised me that California hadn’t done this sooner.
What will No Child Left Behind’s legacy be?
o A focus on testing at all costs.
o Forget a well-rounded education – just teach reading and math.
o Schools who can’t reach an impossible goal are failures.
o A flawed attempt at education reform.
o Children left behind… end of story.
Today we celebrate the achievements of a great man. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader and activist who used his voice to speak out against injustices. He, like Gandhi before him, left a legacy of peace while practicing nonviolent resistance. What does this mean for us and our children?
Those of you who know me may already know the story, or at least part of it, but I thought it would be appropriate to start this blog with a back-story, so you know where I am coming from. I have no intention, however, to make this blog about me and my experiences – who wants to read that? My hope is that it will develop into a place of sharing for educators and parents alike, a place where questions can be asked and answered, information can be shared, and positive vibes can emanate.