April 6 — 4:49 pm, 2010

Improvement starts with cooperation

To the editors:
When administrators acknowledge the achievement gap is not created by teachers, we will then have an atmosphere where teachers and administrators can work cooperatively on solving problems.

In 15 years of teaching, I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want the best for their child. Richard Rothstein, in his book “Class and Schools,” reiterates the Coleman Report that verifies that the home is the most important environment in determining a child’s academic success. He writes of how parents from low socio-economic backgrounds face difficulties in advocating for their children.

These “are complicated by children from low socio-economic backgrounds having poorer vision, perhaps stemming from a lower quality of prenatal care than their wealthier counterparts. They are also more likely to have poorer oral hygiene, more lead poisoning, more asthma, poorer nutrition, less adequate pediatric care, more exposure to smoke, and a host of other problems.”

Working respectfully, we can initiate proper policy to assist parents in enhancing the home environment. We can work with the community to promote reading readiness in our preschool children. That is how we eliminate the academic achievement gap and improve our schools and communities.

Responding to achievement gaps with reconstitution of staff and blaming teachers only serves to hasten the end of public education. When that happens, good schools will be hard to find in the inner city.

Superintendent Ackerman recently stated that problems in our schools are society’s problems. I agree and I want to solve them.  To others who think this problem is too large to solve I say, lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Keith Newman
The writer is a candidate for state representative for the 194th District.

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