Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We can improve our education


The best way to make a model school district is to look at the best schools around the world. Newspapers and magazines around the U.S. have been publishing their brand of what they think is wrong with U.S. education but few have looked at what other nations are doing that are successful.

The top nation producing the highest-performing students is South Korea. Here are a few differences that they have in their education system.

First and foremost, they offer preschool from the age of 3 to 6. Only after students show proficiency in their second language of English can they move on to elementary school. The students attend school for eight hours a day and teachers are paid very well. The information comes from an article titled "USA could learn from South Korean Schools."

Every high-performing nation teaches two languages from the age of 3 on up to high school. Many researchers see this as the underlying factor to change mediocre education into great education. There are other factors such as cost-per-student spending, cultural attitudes toward the teachers and rigorous material taught at earlier ages that also play a role.

Our valley has an excellent program, but all children should have the right to benefit from dual language learning like in the other high-performing nations with which we compete.

The development of brain cells and thinking skills seems to be known by other developed countries, yet no one in the States wants to acknowledge the great benefits seen in numerous studies: Bialystok, E. (2001), "Bilingualism in Development" and Robinson, D.W. (1992), "The Cognitive, Academic and Attitudinal Benefits of Early Language Learning."

It is time to do districtwide language learning and be that model school district.

Sheri Thomas

Hailey




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