The Zanesville Times Recorder

Our children can change the world, literally (January 2, 2011) – “Kids these days …” That phrase is almost never followed by anything positive, unfortunately. It’s tossed out there to describe almost anything new and unfamiliar: Kids are texting too often, spending all their time on the Internet, watching too much television, not reading books anymore and playing too many video games. They’re driving too fast, never talking to their friends in person enough, and homework? Who finishes that? If you spent the past 20 years living in seclusion, the hand-wringing over Generation Z would be enough to send you right back inside your cave. Civilization, it appears, is on its last legs. Or is it?

One-sided debate on education harmful to teachers, students (October 10, 2010) – Despite being crucial to society’s growth and development, teachers always have been both loved and hated. In the media we are sometimes portrayed as villains when one bad apple makes an unwise decision. To the parent of the little girl who moved up three grade levels in reading, we are examples of the greatness achieved with patience and determination. We can’t continue to allow billionaires and television personalities to decide what is best for students and teachers without first bringing us into the discussion.

Standardized testing creates ineffective learning environment (July 25, 2010) – Our collective dependence on test scores as the only proof that students are learning causes us to only focus on preparing for that test. Freed from this pressure, teachers can instead teach skills like critical thinking, composition, scientific observation and mathematics. Some might argue that these abilities are difficult to assess; in reality, they’re just impossible to put on a standardized test. To master them takes the kind of time and practice found in learning a lifelong skill, like playing the guitar.

Education reform needs to include 21st-century skills required for success (April 25, 2010) – Can we begin to emphasize more appropriate 21st-century skills in addition to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic? Not easily, but it’s because everyone involved in education — students, teachers, parents and the community — has yet to change their expectations for what children should be learning.