LETTER: School system could be improved with more like Segert

Friday, January 23, 2009 | 5:05 p.m. CST; updated 11:47 a.m. CST, Saturday, January 24, 2009

The integrity and concern of Ines Segert in taking one of her children out of public school and enrolling him in private school shows she is exactly the kind of courageous, thinking person we need on the public school board.

There is nothing more important than protecting one's child, and Ines has done this despite the flak she has risked taking. I applaud Ines for continuing to work to improve the public schools even when she sees the need for her child to be somewhere else.

Also, who knows better than parents what their child needs? Parents can learn a lot about a child's school environment — public or private — by going there, observing, talking to teachers as well as examining teaching methods and curriculum. If only all parents were so conscientious, we would have much better public schools, because parents would insist on quality or pull their children out. The public school system would then have to make changes in order to survive. And, in my opinion, lots of changes are needed.

Are kids becoming more and more unmotivated and demoralized, with many either bored or labeled failures in the old lock-step, teaching-to-the-test, competitive and stressful "No Child Left Behind" syndrome? Are changes in our quickly advancing technology and our fast-moving society leaving many schools behind?

Wouldn't schools become more attractive and effective if — as a start — they offered more individualized learning, more variety in choice of subjects and more projects based on teamwork and cooperation? Perhaps progress in this direction could happen if parents and our society would demand it.

With Election Day nearing, I hope the nine School Board candidates are closely questioned on these matters. We need to elect board members who, like Ines, are willing, despite the criticism, to dig and work conscientiously on solving these difficult challenges, call it like it is and do the right thing.


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