As handwriting on letter shows, I sent out 60 page highly researched report to 3 pages of recipients nationwide re ideas to improve public school education. One of the items I remain firmly committed to is limiting class size for K-3 to 15- it would pay for itself ! ! It would enable teachers to better insure a positive first impression of school via more individual attention, hence higher success rates learning the crucial basics of the 3 R's. Less remediation would be needed later which is expensive, and there would be less class disruption not only K-3, but thereafter since students who feel successful are more likely to pay attention, helping not only them but rest of the class. Disruption causes more need for teaching time, which also translates into money. Etc. Positive first impressions affect almost everyone positively, no matter the topic! I also discussed pay incentives for excellence in teaching, etc. I taught high school math in the early 1970s and a few years later was elected as a school board member elsewhere.
My mother taught emotionally disturbed children for many years and used to say she could always tell the children of divorce without being told who they were! An article in the 1993 "Reader's Digest" reported from a study that indicated children of divorce were far more likely to need remediation, be disruptive, and drop out compared to the rest of the population. Much has been written about this, yet in "Leave No Child Behind" discussions, little if anything is mentioned about their specific needs though they surely form a sizeable per cent of our population.
Please read the other blog entries to realize the connection to legal accountability. As nearly all my advocacy below mentions, more needs to be done K-12 re incorporating teaching conflict management and the challenges of good partnering and parenting- that would help children not only to be more receptive to learning, but enable them to become better business and family partners and parents. However, divorce can never be eliminated, hence it is imperative that courts operate FAR more fairly to limit the damage! Add to that the legal stranglehold on schools in terms of rules and bureaucracy due to fear of suit. Monkey bars, seesaws, and often even slides have been eliminated because multimillion dollar suits have been won against schools when a child gets injured, regardless of fault. In the 2009 book (easy read and only about 210 pages) by Philip K. Howard, a lawyer, "Life Without Lawyers," with subtitle,"Liberating Americans From Too Much Law," the author notes that discipline in schools has been bureaucratized. Mr. Howard says, "NYC requires over 60 steps and legal considerations to suspend a student for 5 days....A 2007 California study on teacher retention, trying to understand why 18,000 teachers quite each year, found that bureaucracy was the leading factor....In every successful school, teachers and principals feel free to act their best judgment. Values don't come to life without the freedom to assert them. Enthusiasm energizes the entire culture, but there's no enthusiasm without spontaneity and originality." Etc!