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Thursday, January 06, 2005



Ran across your DadTalk blog while reading some education news...it's certainly more intelligent than 99% of the blogs I've seen. OK, now that the compliments are out of the way, I'd like to ask if you could link to a parenting website that I've created, ParentsReview.org at www.parentsreview.org.

The site contains brief reviews of parenting books--specifically those books written for the parents of teens. The review have been written mostly by my graduate students. There are no ads on this site--it is a strictly noncommercial, nonprofit, public service site. If you're appreciative of that sort of thing, I'd appreciate the link.

M C Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Educational Psychology
Northern Illinois University

Thank you for your thoughts. I know many in children's literacy advocacy who are in accord with you. What we are trying to understand is how to make education, our children, a priority. Somehow we have lost sight of this and continue to generate generations who are ignorant and don't have the capacity to have complex thinking. We are not creating leaders/innovators. Tests are not going to make our children stay in school and be smarter. Yes, our schools need reform but until the policymakers begin listening to parents, teachers and researchers than we will never break this cycle.

Interesting idea, that there is no education reform. I teach in BC, Canada and we are currently experiencing a jump on the standardized testing bandwagon. I agree that this does not count as reform, and I wonder if it is possible to reform our education society.
When I look at the great research being done in the areas of sleep, diet, and exercise I am continually amazed at the field of education's lack of implementating these ideas to create a positive learning environment. I understand that it would be difficult, and as long as we make education about nothing more than dollars and quotable statistics we won't really get anywhere.
In the end if you want to help a majority of kids learn, make sure they all have a decent diet, get enough sleep and exercise, were read to when they were young, don't spend unending hours in front of the tv or playstation, and have positive relations with several adult rolemodels.
Is it education that needs reforming or society?

M C: Thanks for the words of praise. I have a new postthat mentions both of your websites.

Nurit Siegel: Working at the Los Angeles Times, I think I've read about you once or twice in the Calendar section. Bookpals looks great. It's too bad the best education programs have to come from the private sector rather than the system we pay so much for through taxes.

Tod: I suspect both education and society need reforming. They really go hand in hand, don't they? The way I see it, massive education reform by federal dictate can't work unless a sophisticated implementation regime is included in the plan. That doesn't seem to be the case with any federal reform plan I've ever seen.

Two things will lead to education reform. One is up to the educators, and the other to government. First of all, educators must invent a new story that compelling describes the classroom, teachers, curriculum, and what it means to be educated in a world where the very nature of information has changed. And then we need to tell that story loud and clear.

Then government must invest, invest, invest. In no way are we investing more in our future than when we are building up an education system with new learning environments, new tools, new curriculum, and a charge to our teachers to create and craft new innovative and motivating learning experiences for our students, that are relevant to their future, not ours.

We must stop forcing teachers to work harder, and start helping teachers to work smarter.

David, one thing that has repeatedly surprised me by leaders of both parties is their seeming reluctance to view education as an investment. We don't hesitate to invest in roads, powerlines, wars and military bases, but as a society we simply don't find our children to be that important.

That leads me to believe that most of our leaders have decided that self-enrichment is more important than enriching our nation. It's hard to fathom.

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