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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 9, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Education reform

It starts at home

As a retired public-school teacher, I am getting sick and tired of the Chris Waldorfs of this world who believe the key to improving our schools is to get tough with teachers unions [“Education reform: push past teachers unions that block it,” Northwest Voices, April 3]. I would suggest that nothing we do to reform our education system will work until parents send their children to school physically and mentally ready to learn.

What does that mean? It means taking their cellphones away so they have time to study rather than text-messaging. It means controlling the amount of time they spend “tweeting” on the Internet. It means limiting their TV and video-game time.

In other words, it means developing a culture at home that views education as the bridge to their children’s future, not just an inconvenience that needs to be fit in around the hedonistic pleasures of life. It requires self-discipline and the adoption of a long-term perspective, something Americans find extraordinarily difficult.

If parents can’t accomplish this, then reform measures will be little more than whistling in

the wind.

— Dick Schwartz, Seattle

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