National School Choice week (Jan. 23 – 29) shunned by a media favoring sensationalism

February 11, 2011

From Jan. 23 to 29, School Choice advocates gathered all across this nation to shine a spotlight on effective education options for every child. Despite the importance of education in a competitive world, National School Choice week had all the oxygen sucked out of it with the media’s speculation about what Obama might say in his State of the Union address, the proposed “date night” seating arrangements, and the disqualification of Rahm Emanual from the mayoral ballot.

As reported on Jan. 25 in Education Week, and mentioned in Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25, only one in five high school seniors are performing at a level deemed “proficient” in science. The results come at a time where there is strong and growing concern also about the lackluster academic performance in math in comparison to other nations, including South Korea, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Tax payers, whether or not they have children enrolled in an public or private area school, want children to have positive and to-notch educational experiences. Yet many young people are arriving at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Why is this so? High-stakes testing often replaces meaningful teaching and learning, resulting in pressure-cooker, high-stress and anxiety environments that can cause stress-related illnesses, depression, burnout, and experimentation with drugs.

Look at a positive happening in the upscale communities of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff – where test scores are way above average. Credit in one area goes to Betty Frank-Baily, the executive director of LEAD – or Linking Efforts Against Drugs – for contracting to bring the film “Race to Nowhere” to area residents for scheduled screenings. Dialogues have already opened up among teachers, parents and students.

“Race to Nowhere” is an independently produced and timely film. It cannot be seen in local movie theaters. Children in all school districts would benefit by bringing “Race to Nowhere” for viewing in their communities, as the film shines a light on the price young people pay when the educational process does not produce satisfactory student achievement

It is not the responsibility of government to educate our children, but should be – as “Race to Nowhere” suggests – the combined efforts of the schools, parents and the community.

Check out http://www.RaceToNowhere.com or call 925-310-4142 to arrange to bring “Race to Nowhere” to your hometown.

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