Community activist; spokesman for Committee for Safer Schools; member, Southeast Community House Education Committee; president, Southeast Neighborhood House neighborhood advisory committee; former member, Education In Distress; founded and recruited community support for the Committee For Safer Schools, which introduced a 7-point security plan that was accepted by the School Administration and implemented on a retaining and volunteer basis in certain schools.
1: Whenever we talk about tests, we hear the same main concern: They have to match the objectives that teachers teach in their classrooms. I believe it is up to the superintendent to interpret what testing is proper and reliable. The Division of Instruction should see that we improve students' skills in spelling, writing, speaking and reading so that they can perform better on standardized tests. Teachers should build and drill students to master developmental skills. There are dozens of ways: for example, instructional units, enrichment activities or, for additional drill, specific reading groups. Research shows that vocabulary is the best measure of educational and mental development. Good vocabularies are not developed by accident. They develop from a planned, systematic, regular instructional program.
2: How parents prepare their child for school is vitally important. A child is young only once and only for a short time. So much depends on the home background and the influence parents provide. What a child makes of his life is largely up to the parent. And when parents are uneducated, unskilled, unemployed and in too many cases unconcerned, we need to address these areas by proposing programs and training and educational opportunities for our children and adults. We need to consider all students gifted and talented, especially the ordinary student who is so often left out. Perhaps when we reinforce and reward students for their sense of accomplishment, we will see an improvement in their attitudes. I strongly believe we ought to give our students the responsibility and desire to want to come to school and learn. When we revitalize our communities and neighborhoods, we should do the same with our schools. Why not the best?
3: The greatest problems facing our youth in school today are absence of motivation -- resulting in classroom boredom, truancy, dropping out and teen-age problems such as pregnancy, drugs, crime and incarceration -- and unsatisfactory home conditions that contribute to inadequate home-school relations and poor student performance. We should expand and improve adult education. Excellence should prevail in all schools. We should make certain that students are getting opportunities to exercise their common-sense thinking skills. We should do this by structuring and enriching the classroom environment so students really begin to think, by improving students' self-image and by applying practical techniques to the classroom and the curriculum. We need more student services such as effective attendance programs and medical services, and better food services. More emphasis should be placed on "Back to Basics." We need to hire more aides to assist teachers in helping students to learn. Quality education produces productive citizens prepared for career advancement.