I read with interest Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.’s article on the state of Arizona’s schools. As a recent citizen of Arizona with a seventh- and fourth-grader, I am very concerned about the education my girls will receive.
Our family comes from a school district that has a non-profit education foundation which raises $4 million annually to supplement the school’s budget allocation from the state, but the $1,000 price tag each household is asked to contribute per child is beyond my budget — and in these economic times, beyond the budget of many others.
Refreshingly, it sounds like this heavy price tag is not necessary to create effective reform as evidenced by the successes Dr. Ladner reports from Florida. Opening up certification to those interested in teaching using a test instead of requiring expensive and time-consuming training programs, adopting practical teaching methods to inspire reading, (children learn most of their vocabulary from reading books), honest assessment of school performance, raising expectations for students by offering and incentivizing AP courses, and not advancing students if they do not perform at grade level are simple and proven methods to cultivate better results from our educational system.
Consider this as well; some of the greatest thinkers of our time, such as Einstein, Edison and Lincoln were self-educated. Surrounding children with people who have a love of learning and know how to instill that passion in children will do more for literacy than all of the money in the world. We owe it to their future to speak up for practical reform. Bravo Dr. Ladner for offering some sound suggestions.