Wednesday, August 29, 2001

School reforms urged

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FOREST PARK — Schools must change if students are going to learn the skills they'll need for careers in the 21st century — careers that haven't even been invented yet, said Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association in Alexandria, Va.

        “We need to make the public schools in this country the schools of choice,” she told 400 Winton Woods City School teachers and staff at a districtwide convocation Monday.

        Dr. Bryant outlined four reasons for change:

        • Students come from many different backgrounds. Some haven't had breakfast before school. Some have no books in their homes. Others have no access to computers.

        “To make student achievement happen for every child, we have to provide new ways to learn,” Dr. Bryant said.

        • Students can always learn from change.

        • Change lifts students out of ruts.

        • Public education is under attack; change is needed. Data show students aren't achieving at levels where they need to achieve.

        In an interview, Dr. Bryant used reading as an example of why change is needed.

        What we know about how to teach reading is light years ahead of five years ago, she said, so experienced teachers must be willing to be trained in the latest techniques.

        Debbe Gregory, a special-education teacher who has taught for 26 years in the district, said Dr. Bryant's speech hit home, but she acknowledged it won't be easy.

        “I think new teachers coming in are more willing, ready and excited and can deal with change,” Mrs. Gregory said. “I think the veterans have a hard time with change.”


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