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Opinion :: To the Editor: Working together is the solution to educational challenges
· 1:39pm February 11th, 2013
To the Editor:
Educators in the Vinton-Shellsburg district are working diligently to provide valuable educational experiences for our children. And when I say educators, this includes: teachers, administrators, associates, custodians, nurses, coaches, etc, along with parents.
As I walk down the hallways of our schools, I see faces of fellow Vinton-Shellsburg graduates who have chosen to have their children and grandchildren educated in this district. An enormous sense of pride exists here in our district. I see it in the faces of community members as they attend musical performances, athletic competitions and community activities. And when we someone is need of assistance we pull together to help.
We must be cautious as parents when profit companies promise “quick fixes.” A former teacher from a for- profit educational company writes, “Companies hook the client by diagnosing children through testing as either below, at, or above grade level. No matter what your child tests at, they will recommend a program to begin immediately. To guarantee continued success they'll talk you into more programs.”
Parents should also be cautious when companies guaranty rapid academic growth shown through pre and post testing. A parent who enrolled a child in one of those companies wrote, “…the school testing performed in late May showed that our daughter was at the end of a second grade level in reading assessments. The educational company’s testing performed in the same time showed that my daughter tested at 5th grade/4th month overall in reading.”
This pre- and post-testing can provide a false sense of academic growth for parents. Hiring a private tutor or utilizing the numerous academic services in our district would be a better use of time and money.
We can point fingers and place blame teachers for educational concerns in our district, or we can work together to create the best possible educational environment for our youth. As a parent of a child who struggles academically, I understand that educational responsibilities must be a joint effort between the teachers and families. Our family has spent countless hours traveling to occupational therapy appointments, vision therapy sessions and educational meetings, all in an effort to help my child find academic success. For those parents that have driven as far as Des Moines for the educational needs of their child, kudos to you. Thank you for putting your child's academic needs as a priority.
The educators in the Vinton-Shellsburg district give an enormous amount of themselves each and every day to benefit our youth. I am amazed at their perseverance and collective commitment to the children in our district. There are many teachers that have made the choice to work here, live here and raise a family here. These teachers have changed lives here in our community and for that I say Thank You!
As a community, let’s continue to work together with the Vinton-Shellsburg educators to provide a positive education experience for our children.
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Remembering the most-loved -- and least popular -- Abraham Lincoln