Wise words on schools

Published 10:26 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

Howie Soucek’s outstanding series of columns on this page about the decline of public education in America coincidentally concludes in the same week that Franklin High School was listed among 65 low-performing schools in Virginia that are eligible for a share of $59.8 million in federal turnaround money.

The money would allow the school to hire an outside “coach” to help administrators draft an improvement plan.

That may or may not be a good idea, but the lesson of Soucek’s commentary is that there’s no magic bullet for what ails public education in Franklin and elsewhere. Certainly, an influx of federal money is no cure-all.

Rather, school divisions must reinstill discipline in the classroom, restore teachers to their proper place of respect and leadership, acknowledge and address problems rather than sugarcoat them, and enroll all stakeholders in the mission of providing a first-rate education for the workforce of tomorrow.

Soucek, a former classroom teacher, spouse of a current teacher, and author of the book “Notes on Education,” knows of what he writes.

We’d be wise as a community to heed his message and not rely on help from Washington to turn around our public schools.