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Making a Commitment to Excellence

Strategies for Saving Our Failing Schools
Les Stein

The new school year is only a few weeks away and it would benefit all of us - including those who do not have school age children - to make a firm commitment on behalf of our public school system. Most of us understand that our state legislators and governor have done little or nothing to support our educational system. As a matter, the recent decision to repeal Common Core simply highlights the fact that these politicians are clueless about education. For the time being, however, and until the upcoming elections, we need to look past the less-than-stellar performances of our political leaders and commit ourselves to the education of our K-12 students. Among other things, our communities must come together and determine how they can best support their schools. For instance, we know that a number of teachers will need classroom supplies; many of their students' families will not have the funds to purchase all of the needed items and this burden should not fall on the shoulders of our teachers. This is an excellent opportunity for us to come together and make a positive difference in education.

This is also the time to say that we will stop making excuses for why our children are not learning. Yes, many of them come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and yes, some of them may not have good role models at homes or in their neighborhoods; however, when these children and young adults come to school, many of these issues simply become excuses and they need to be left at their school's entrance. In essence, we need to focus on the possibilities rather than the restrictions. Each child is capable of succeeding academically - and the first thing we must decide is whether or not we are willing to put in the extra effort and make the necessary sacrifices to help these children reach their full potential. This is not the time for teachers to complain about their salaries, or to ask why society does not appreciate their profession. The first day of the school year is when teachers must make it clear to their students and their parents that they will stop at nothing to help each child succeed. In other words, this is the time to re-affirm our commitment and dedication to the profession.

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