How little has changed in six years.  Here's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane, on the importance of good teachers in the poorest neighborhoods.
Parents play a large role in education, but for many Americans, the first introduction to formal education comes from direct contact with an excellent teacher who manages to inspire a student to meet his or her potential.
That's in the course of a column in which a mom is doing all the right things, and yet her son was having troubles in Milwaukee's schools.  And yet, somewhere, the money is going to the wrong places.
There are lots of excuses from parents who expect teachers to do all the work educating their child during the day, while not providing a helpful environment at home.

But there are also plenty of concerned parents who simply lack the knowledge to keep up with their child's academic progress due to their own hectic schedules or lack of education.

[Keisha] Arnold wants her son to have teachers who can do the things she can't do for her child.

Considering all the money we spend on education, that doesn't seem like too much to ask.
But the testing mentality, plus insufficient reinforcement of the life-management skills Ms Arnold had been inculcating in her son, isn't properly preparing young people for college.
By requiring states to evaluate teachers based on test scores, Race to the Top will only promote "the culture of testing." It will encourage teachers to emphasize low-level skills rather than true learning, which will only exacerbate the struggles of underprepared college students. The sooner we rid these tests of unneeded high stakes, the sooner our teachers can emphasize the truth: that real reading, writing and learning is messy, and no shorthand tricks will do.
Yes, doing anything properly requires time on task. Adepts and the enthusiastic might take to these things faster, and yet they, too, must have the proper discipline.

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