According to an online article in the NY Times located at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/us/17poverty.html?_r=1, statistics reveal, from a recent Census Bureau report, 1 in 7 Americans live in poverty a total of 44 million people. Much focus has been on education reform and educators are answering that call. Schools make a concerted effort to focus on the improvement of student learning daily in an environment that vacillates like an oscillating fan. Just ask our teachers who are now modifying their curriculum to a
4 day week due to budget constraints not only in anticipation for this fiscal year but even for next. Adjustments are good. Adjustments demonstrate a geniune concern to improve by self-assessing, by being self-critical, and by self-benchmarking. Educators are answering the calls to perform. But as Colin Powell said this morning on Meet The Press at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/vp/39256108#39256108, education doesn't begin in the 1st grade. We need, he continued, to concentrate on what is being done at home to get kids ready for school. If children can't recite the alphabet, can't focus, haven't been read to, and don't know how to mind an adult, then the child is set up for a cascade of problems. Teachers then become truant officers that divert attention from teaching students how to learn to teaching students how to behave or teach them the school ready skills that they need on the day they show up to start school. We are seeing students who can't read by the 3rd grade, according to Powell. By 7th and 8th grade these students start thinking about dropping out and go ahead and drop out later in high school. This creates a compelling and convincing case that truly acknowledges the plight educators are up against. Education answers the calls for early education through early childhood intervention programs; answers the calls for drop out prevention through drop out prevention programs; answers the calls for bullying prevention through bullying prevention programs; answers the calls for childhood obesity through child wellness programs; answers the calls for student health issues by providing vision and hearing screenings; answers the calls for student immunizations by requiring immunizations throughout a child's development; answers the calls for proper nutrition by providing breakfast and lunch; answers the call for improved communication with parents by providing online records of grades, by texting parents, by Twittering and Facebooking with parents and by establishing school websites; education answers the call to equip students with 21st century skills by providing staff development for teachers who introduce new technologies like iPads and iTouches embedded into the curriculum; education answers the calls!! Education is a switchboard for a myriad of societal neglects. Education answers the call for a plethora of palates by offering more flavors than Baskin Robbins! If your were to ask the average parent of a 4 year old or 5 year old or even 6 year old, how many books were in their home, the reply would probably surprise you. The average home probably has more flavors of ice cream in their freezer than books on their shelves. If you have not read the Meaningful Differences Report, do. If you haven't read Jim Trelease's book, "The Read Aloud Handbook", do. Reading aloud is the most beneficial thing a parent can do for a child. The number of words a child hears before they begin school directly impacts their ability to read, thus their readiness. It's not the toys, it's the ears that's important. When you answer your next phone call, what will you say? Will that be a double dip or single dip? Will that be German Chocolate or Black Walnut? Please vote yes on SQ 744. It will constitutionally amend the State's Constitution to fund schools at the regional average. The per pupil expeditures in Arkansas exceeds the per pupil expenditures in the state of Oklahoma. Just like Tim Gilpin said on FlashPoint on 9/19/10, how can our students compete globally if we can't even compete with Arkansas? Answer the phone! It's ringing!!