Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get Involved With Educational Reform!

Why should you write your congressional representatives encouraging support for a "Whole Child"approach to education? The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), now known as "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) requires reauthorization. Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee on the Obama Administration's Blueprint for reauthorizing ESEA, Secretary of Education Duncan presented a compelling case for correcting many of the problems related to our current educational system. Reauthorization will only be sound and perfected through further input from educators seeking to ensure effective policy and solid implemetation of best practices. Congressman Moran's (D-VA) recent House of Representative resolution (H-1093) identifies the rationale for why you should be contacting your congressional representatives and stay well-informed about the reauthorization process. It is essential for educators to become familiar with all aspects of educational reform for this country.

At the core of reform should be the "Whole Child" philosophy, which advocates:
  • Each student should be able to enter school healthy and ready to learn about and practice a healthy lifestyle. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the percentage of overweight children ages 6 to 11 has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled over the last 2 decades.
  • Each student should be able to learn in an intellectually challenging environment that is physically and emotionally safe. According to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report of 2009, 32 percent of middle and high school students reported being bullied during the 2007 school year.
  • Each student should be able to be actively engaged in learning and connected to the school and broader community. A study on high school student engagement conducted by the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy at the Indiana University School of Education found that half of high school students feel they are an important part of their school community; what does the other half feel?
  • Each student deserves access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults. The same Indiana University study cited above reported that more than 20 percent of students say there is no adult at their school who cares about them and knows them well. Given this, why wouldn't 1 in 5 students feel disenfranchised or left behind?
  • Each graduate deserves to be challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study, and for employment in a global economy. According to the most recently published information from the Condition of Education on the availability of advanced courses in United States high schools, more than 25 percent of students do not have access to a single advanced course in mathematics, English, science, or foreign language in their high school.

Another student drops out every nine seconds in the United States. That translates to 7200 students dropping out EVERY day! Tell those students they weren't left behind! Previously, this writer encouraged in-service educators and pre-service teachers to speak up and speak out for educational reform. The time is now! The need is urgent! Act now! Contact your elected representatives.

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