95.  ARTICLE: "Don’t Blame Public Schools for ALL of Society’s Ills" by Principal John Miller

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Great article, and so true. Now, can you come up with a program to get the parents to do their share?
Lots happening in Arkansas education as a result of a ruling on a lawsuit by a school district, and much of it may be good, if challenging for the state to fund.
All the best,
Win Rockefeller

Greetings from California, Mr. Win!!!!! and THANKS for your interest in the article "Don't Blame Public Schools for ALL of Society's Ills, by Principal John Miller.

This is exactly what needs to be addressed by public schools, by local communities, counties, and states since the major responsibility for schooling falls upon the states.

I just completed two weeks of teacher training in North Carolina and I would like to share with you an extraordinary development in parent involvement and training: In the five years or so I have worked in North Carolina, I have always suggested that we must STOP demanding that parents COME to school, and, instead, we MUST TAKE school to the parents, to be involved at any time, or any day or any hour that their busy schedules allow (Like in Arkansas, many parents hold two or three jobs A DAY!!!!)

Thus, the Duplin County Public Schools just received a grant to convert several school buses into MOBILE PARENT TRAINING UNITS. Several school buses are being re-fitted as portable classrooms, including computers. These buses will be parked at different strategic corners throughout the entire county to provide parent training, computer literacy training, and library services to parents and to their young --and older-- children. The buses will move from corner to corner providing services to the most remote areas of the county where so many of the Hispanic parents live and work in the same agricultural industries as in Arkansas. NOW THAT IS A GREAT IDEA!!!!!

Parents do not have, in many cases, neither the time nor the energy, nor the transportation means, to GO to school. BUT SCHOOL CAN --and should-- COME TO PARENTS!!!!!

Another way school CAN --and SHOULD-- COME TO PARENTS, is through videos or through closed circuit television, through radio programs and THROUGH THE TELEPHONE!!!!!!. Parents DO own video equipment, and television sets, radio, and telephone.

There should be videos that parents can "check-out" and receive information and training. Television programs in a language that parents can understand should be available through the public television station or through commercial television stations during public service time. Brief television and radio announcements informing parents about nutrition, good health habits, "how-to" help their children, etc., would be effective ways to reach parents. Finally, there should be FREE phone numbers where parents can find answers to their questions. AND THEN, of course, THERE ARE MY WEB SITES where parents could get answers to their specific questions!!!!!!!

Above all, I do believe that SCHOOLS need to do a much better job teaching the students. For example, very few schools CHANGE their instructional programs, their organizations, their instructional groupings, their teaching methods in response to the YEARLY changing needs of their students. Schools tend to remain the same, year after year, spite the fact that their student bodies --the racial, linguistic and economic composition of each school’s student body--CHANGES DRAMATICALLY every year!!!!!!!

I strongly believe that no parent should or could be blamed for the failure of his/her children UNTIL SCHOOLS DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MEET THE ACADEMIC and LINGUISTIC NEEDS of their students by

reorganizing the way they provide educational services EACH and EVERY YEAR.

The failure of students is, in my opinion, the direct result of the rigidity of our school programs, and that rigidity is being buttressed by an even more rigid set of educational standards tied to very rigid grade levels and measured by totally inappropriate and rigid testing instruments.

I also strongly believe --and research supports my belief-- that each and every community MUST provide ADDITIONAL hours of schooling BEYOND what is offered by public schools. And I strongly support the extension of the school day, the school calendar, and innovative ways to offer teachers many different kinds of teaching assignments so that daily school instruction, whether offered by the public schools or through city or county educational programs, can be provided from 6:00 AM to midnight, Monday through Saturday, ALL YEAR LONG!!!

Then ALL children would have incredible learning opportunities. Some of these ideas, by the way, are now recognized and funded by the Federal government through their 21st Century community grants.

You mention that "Lots happening in Arkansas education as a result of a ruling on a lawsuit by a school district, and much of it may be good, if challenging for the state to fund." The same is happening in New Mexico and North Carolina and many other states. I am sure it is for the GOOD of ALL students.



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2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
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Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
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Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

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