Caldwell parent’s fix for public schools is a must-read

crucialvoiceofthepeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present: Educations Missing Ingredient
Victoria M. Young, DVM
Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2012
Paperback: $33.90, eBook: $28.79

What qualifications does a country vet have that make her competent to speak out about our educational system? The best one: she is a concerned parent.
Caldwell resident, Dr. Victoria Young, speaks as a parent who watched her small school district struggle to educate its students, and frustrated, began to research what was needed to fix public education. She discovered that the solution does not require massive funding, new studies, or even a degree in education, because the foundational missing ingredient is readily available. It is the skills, ideas, and input parents and local business leaders possess but which have not been utilized.
Dr. Young insists that for too long the input and skills that parents and business leaders in a community are equipped to offer the educational system has been subjugated to the will of teachers and administrators who have ignored them, insisting they – the professionals – are better equipped to make the decisions regarding education.
However, since their all the educational system has demonstrated is that they are failing, then the solution, she says, is for parents and community leaders to step up and insist on becoming a part of the educational decisions and programs. Her reasoning is that communities know what they value and therefore, understand what needs to be taught to support the community’s values.
She admits that the more difficult task will be convincing school boards that losing their autonomy and encompassing community answers and help will result in a better school system for everyone.
My favorite point made in the book is Dr. Young’s insistence that the federal government’s involvement in the local school systems should be restricted to funding all school systems equally across the nation.
Five elements of effective classrooms that will provide a starting place for dialogue between community leaders, parents and school administrators are:
1. Responsible and responsible leadership
2. Instructional improvement
3. A broad and challenging curriculum
4. A school climate supportive of teaching and learning
5. A system of education support that includes family and community.
The book is well researched and documented, but still manages to be an easy read. A thought-provoking, insightful book that should be on every parent’s bedside stand.

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