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13 years ago @ Change.gov - Change.gov: The Obama-... · 0 replies · +3 points

Before I am judged as something "unsavory" by my comments, let me begin by saying that I am a married woman, with two sons and five grandchildren.

Christian values did not teach us to judge one another. This not only applies to gays, lesbians, and any others that don't fit our "mold" of what a person should or shouldn't be, it also applies to Rick Warren and all others who are following their religious beliefs, for religion has taught these negative values - not faith, for Christ accepted all.

The rights our forefathers fought for did not include bigotry. They included the freedoms many of you have chosen to twist into something hideous here - freedoms that allow us to speak our minds without fear of punishment. But did they for one second believe discussion such as this would be occurring - pitting one citizen against another over sexual orientation or personal beliefs?

Freedom of religion is another hard fought battle won by those who risked their very lives to reach an unknown land, then again as they pushed westward to begin this life of freedom so promised. Should you choose to live amongst those who so desperately must be right in their beliefs so that others may be ostracized from communities, and not be permitted their own belief system, are you honoring those who gave their lives before you for that very right?

In this country, so many of us live the letter, rather than the spirit of the law and religion. Would it surprise you if homosexuality was practiced among those who published our first Bible? Would you also be surprised to understand that our own fears of the unknown is what makes us fear those who are different than us? Taking the time to get to know people alleviates our fears. After all, isn't that what Jesus would have done?

13 years ago @ Change.gov - Leadership Conference ... · 0 replies · +2 points


I beg to differ. My children, as well as I, were taught from this system, and our values are fully intact. What lacks in parenting is being taught how to parent. That is the self-perpetuating legacy that modern parents will pass on to their children. Teachers are now expected to raise their students as well as educate them. The problem with this is parents have, as they have always had, the most influence on their children. Children will follow the path of least resistance. It's their nature.

In addition, it is a difficult situations many parents are placed in when they have to work an incredible number of hours to support their family, leaving children to fend for themselves. Add to that the absence of a positive parental role model when they were children, and many parents have little of themselves to offer their own children. I honestly believe all parents love their children. Some just don't know what to do with them. This I have heard from parents many, many times.

I assure you that lax discipline and unproductive students are not going to be found in my classroom. As an example, I currently have a student who's mother doesn't want me to push him to work. He is perfectly capable. When he feels any pressure, he doesn't come to school the next day. I have seen him once in two weeks. He is eight years old. Still others have been abandoned, locked in closets daily for years on end, beaten and abused, and left hungry day after day. True stories and happening is cities everywhere, every day. These are not rare occurrences.

So, when I say teachers are placed in a parental role as well as that of educators, know that there are many of us laboring day in and day out to help other's children reclaim some of their self-esteem and confidence so that they may BELIEVE they can learn.

13 years ago @ Change.gov - Leadership Conference ... · 1 reply · +1 points

Here, here!!! Well said, Bonita!

13 years ago @ Change.gov - Leadership Conference ... · 0 replies · +1 points


Why should your child have been forced from participation in the best educational and social developmental years of her life? Diversity as it is measured by governmental agencies does not consider the diverse nature of children's learning styles and strengths, but abilities only. When a child is capable, but not functioning as expected by the system, they are labeled as difficult. It's time for education to open its eyes to the diversity of children as human beings - not numbers.

13 years ago @ Change.gov - Leadership Conference ... · 1 reply · +1 points

Tricky to balance for those who administer to those who teach. Not tricky for good teachers. If we are to base success on standardized testing scores, when I was permitted to teach students using my strategies just two short years ago, between 82% and 89% of my students met or exceeded the standards in reading, writing, and math, as was true for previous years as well. This past year, with the institution of scripted reading and my students' loss of educational opportunities in all other disciplines, my scores were between 63% and 67%.

Students with a well-rounded educational experience with teachers who have the skills to monitor and adjust their teaching to students' needs, then raise the bar high enough so they must stretch to succeed, can, and will once again if given the opportunity, produce successful students. If, on the other hand, all we care about is meeting these numerical expectations, then we will continue to get administrators whose focus is on doing so.

With the goal of 100% of all students meeting or exceeding the standards by 2010, we will soon all be considered failing schools, for it is impossible to expect special education students, recent immigrants, and refugees, as well as the occasional "late bloomer", to meet these impossible expectations. Under No Child Left behind, there is no differentiation between these students and those of upper class students in expectations. Inappropriately named, No Child Left Behind will soon leave most children behind.

How do some schools perform and others don't? When it is not a healthy respect for good teaching, there are always loopholes in the law, and the personnel who can manipulate them.

The responsibility of students' education should rest with the teacher. It currently rests with administration, and since these same administrators did not and do not weed out poor teachers (which is the root cause of this mess in education), how can we possibly expect different results?

13 years ago @ Change.gov - Leadership Conference ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind without making the necessary changes to ensure elementary students are fully exposed to and educated in the internationally prized disciplines of sciences, math, and social sciences would be tantamount to ensuring the continued failure of our country.

Continuing a belief that a strong focus on reading SKILLS alone is the key to success will result in future leaders without the curiosity necessary to develop the growth we need to compete with other world powers. If students are not provided opportunities to experience all areas of science, math and social sciences, we will fall behind other world powers in the areas of research, development, and execution of new ideas to advance growth in all science fields. Highly educated individuals to study our current and future societal needs, norms, and composition will not be available to develop a stronger society that can stand on its own with the least governmental support possible. Historians and theologians will decrease in numbers as those exposed and drawn to the social sciences continues to diminish.

The current atmosphere created by No Child Left Behind has pushed states to develop programs that require school districts to vie for grants. Once these grants are won, districts must then follow the state's narrowly prescribed time and instructional guidelines. With our continued failures in reading instruction, these grants focus ONLY on a prescription for reading instruction. The scope of these initiatives is narrow, leaves little time for other disciplines, and produces the institution of scripted programs that do not permit the integration of math, sciences, and social sciences into the reading curriculum.

Committees set by states to design and implement policy changes for schools with the goal of student growth, while considering the diverse community of learners in today's middle and lower socioeconomic schools, are compiled of upper class businessmen and women who, as has been witnessed, often look to their children's needs to develop these policies. The often bizarre requirements set by these committees have recently run to segregation of students in the homeroom class by abilities. Segregation being the key word here. When students are divided into these groups, those who remain in the groups with the least skills continue to be children from minority groups in middle and lower socioeconomic schools, thereby removing students with the most needs to classrooms filled with students with the same intensive needs.

Removing immigrants and refugees from the mainstream classroom, and thereby segregating them, is discriminatory in nature and spirit, and should be punished by law, not implemented in our classrooms. The spirit of these regulations removes these students from interacting with those students who have English as a first language skills. The result is a heavy burden on a few teachers to develop these students' reading and language skills in a vacuum. With student interaction (team work) at the top of the list in these programs, development of language skills is limited to those obtained from teacher instruction only. Social interaction with those who are English first language students is extremely limited, thereby impairing social language development in those who have the greatest need.

The requirements of reading instruction for four and one half hours each day out of six available instructional hours, the use of scripted programs, and segregation of those students with the greatest needs is a prescription for the failure of our future leaders. Scripted program use does not permit integration of sciences, societal skills and norms, and the implications of history on our future into the reading curriculum. Math, science and social studies instruction is still required, but the time available to teach these disciplines is so limited that students only skim the surface of each, never becoming fully engaged in any.

While reading instruction is vital to the comprehension of all disciplines, a balance must be met to place equal emphasis on each through instructional time allotments, and integration of all disciplines. This can be made possible in many schools through the reform or removal of scripted reading programs at the elementary level. As seen in educational research trends reports, the current focus on reading instruction with a strong emphasis on teamwork, will continue to produce a majority of graduates with adequate to low reading skills and the inability to make decisions on their own.

The call for research driven instruction has led to the use of these limiting programs. While the research may show scripted programs positively affect reading outcomes, they do not take into account that which is sacrificed to achieve these outcomes. Administrators with beliefs firmly entrenched in such reading instruction strategies often have little, or outdated experience in the classroom. Today's elementary and secondary students are not comparable in learning styles to those of as recent as ten years ago.