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I believe Ms Thomas is genuinely interested in public education and making sure that every child has access to a good education. It seems that Mr Brinkley is more interested in privatizing education.
I agree with the writer that traditional schools can and do work, however, in recent years the blame game for poor math and academic scores has been an inducement to some parents to seek charter schools instead. The real issue is that education is pro-active, not passive. The students, teachers, and parents collectively educate the child and each must do its part. Teachers need to teach the traditional root subjects with a the aim of encouraging critical thinking. Students need to develop motivation to learn, and unfortunately, many students due to their age and maturity, have little interest in school work. These groups must be treated separately from those who do want to learn. It has always been the case that unmotivated students adversely influence the ones who want to learn in a classroom setting. Parents need to support the teachers as they did when I was growing up, generating respect for them and encouraging their children to stop blaming teachers for their own failure to do homework and concentrate. Parents need to stop interfering and micromanaging, where that is a problem. The school administration must think practically and avoid setting up obstacles to learning by establishing bureaucratic rigidity. I see it as a collective and collaborative venture. And lastly, teachers and administration need to leave politics and social engineering at home, concentrating on learning and developing deductive reasoning in students. Liberal and progressive ideas are too often promoted over more conservative values, and for those from conservative families, this is plainly wrong to push partisan politics in the classroom.
The answer is often simple...but not always easy. In this case, it takes recognition that the problems are multi-faceted, will take great political will and long-term attention to correct, and recognition that there aren't any quick fixes.
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