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AZ Week Notebook entry

EDUCATION REFORM: ESCHEW CLICHES

It’s time for a pop quiz.

Just one question: What do Arizona schools need to succeed?

A -- Better teachers.

B – Parental involvement.

C -- More money.

D -- All of the above.

The answer in a few moments.

But first, what shall we call our quiz? How about the aim test, because this list of answers has the potential to continue a dialogue that aims at blame and at the wrong-headed idea there’s one simple solution.

The correct answer, of course, is D – All of the above.

Yet there are those who say it’s A -- all up to teachers, and that they’re to blame for the system’s degradation.

There are others who say it’s B – because many parents are shirking responsibility.

And still others who say it’s C – schools are being starved.

There’s truth in all those statements, and thus we must be comprehensive in our approach, not taking aim at any one issue for blame or solution.

Yes, let’s support teachers and help make them better, including finding new teaching methods. And yes, let’s support parents, giving them greater access to their children’s educational processes. And, of course, let’s give the system more money, so teachers are rewarded and children have the tools they need to learn.

If these all sound like little more than bromides, it’s time to look at the real cliches in the educational dialogue: politicians who say let’s do more with less, for example. By that logic, we ought to consider doing everything with nothing.

Or those who say let’s give parents choices. First, we must give parents the ability to make choices, because many don’t possess it when it comes to education for their children.

The issues are complex, and the short answers won’t help us overcome them.

So let’s succeed in our test by aiming all we say and do at comprehensive improvement in the public educational system.

This is about our children, who deserve more than we’re giving them now.

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About AZ Week Notebook

News and commentary from Arizona Week producer/host Michael Chihak and interns Melanie Huonker and Lucy Valencia.

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Public education do more with less education reform