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Web Letter

The really perplexing aspect of the EEP reform movement is that almost every leader in it understands the importance of health, language, cognition, social and family supports for their own children. President Obama especially has frequently praised the efforts of his mother and his grandparents in providing him with the tools to obtain a world-class education. And yet, with the exception of the president, these leaders seem to reject healthcare, preschool, parent education and social supports as being unnecessary for other people's children. It is the more visionary Broader, Bolder Approach to Education that emphasizes the importance of a complex support system for impoverished children. Over forty years of research is solidly on the side of this group.

As Stanford Professor Larry Cuban once said, "Without teacher commitment to district-designated reforms, sustained improvement in teaching and student achievement will falter and utimately fail." Michelle Rhee is learning the veracity of those words right now in DC, where she is experiencing difficulty in gaining the cooperation of teachers and in attracting "highly qualified" teachers and administrators to her schools. The others will learn in the next few years. (But then again, maybe the stated goal of "student achievement" is really a cover for something else!)

Linda Mele Johnson

Long Beach , CA

Jun 8 2009 - 7:59pm

Web Letter

The sad reality of education is that politicians govern the direction of education and have ever since our first religious schools became public. There is a need for a national debate on education beyond the Scopes Monkey Trial and it should occur nationally as well as internationally, as much as is currently possible. The national debate, to the extent that it exists, doesn't occur among those with the degrees but rather among media bubblebrains, politicians and administrators, not true educators. I spent a year traveling the United States studying public and private schools. Public schools are as a whole ruled by ex-jocks after several years of teaching gym and eventually getting a poorly designed master's degree in administration. Not our present day national education administrators. I'm sure Arnie Dunkan is a fine, caring person who can dunk a three-pointer from mid-court but his education creds are short of stellar. There are private examples of excellent schools such as the Nueva School in Hillsborough, California. I would also imagine that the Sidwell freinds Schools are also such examples.

James L. Pinette

Caribou, Maine

May 29 2009 - 4:22pm

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