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Students Must Be Ready To Learn

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					Educational legislation has assumed that lack of student success is a result of teacher
failure. Teachers have been certified, highly-qualified, professionally developed, and
untenured and/or fired as a result of No Child Left Behind and standardized test
scores. A new study out of Vanderbilt University showed that merit pay made no
significant difference in test scores. If teachers are not the cause of poor student scores,
then the question must be: How can students come into the classroom ready to learn?
Pre-school Students who attend preschool are better prepared to learn. In Tennessee,
Gov. Phil Bredesen put educational dollars into Pre-K. Montgomery County,
Maryland, is reaping big results by using educational funds for Pre-K. Pre-K teaches
classroom behavior, early letters and number recognition, social appropriateness, and
listening skills. Pre-K also introduces the school environment and reduces separation
anxiety to both the child and the parent. Preparation Students need to be ready to go to
school each morning. This preparation includes school supplies being replenished
regularly. Homework should be done, checked, and packed in the backpack the night
before. Lunch money, projects, library books, and gym clothing should be in or with
the backpack. Clothes could be laid out. The more preparation that is completed the
night before means less to forget or fuss over on the school day morning. How much
technology does a student need to have at home? Basic technology at home for a
student today is a relatively new computer (desktop or laptop) with a high speed
Internet connection and a reliable printer. Often being prepared for school may also
require a graphing calculator by 7th grade. The cost of technology can be prohibitive
for some families, however. Students can use computers at a library or at school but
do not have the luxury of time that they may have at home. Positivity Everyday needs
to begin in a positive way. Students need breakfast each morning whether it is fixed at
home, picked up on the way, or eaten at school. Conversation should be positive. Prior
to school is a bad time to fight about what happened yesterday. Everyday tensions
cause friction, but sending students to school in a bad frame of mind makes it more
difficult for them to learn. Priorities When so many activities are available for
students, school should be considered a priority among all the options. Values and
priorities are established within the family. When students know that the family insists
that school is a priority, students will choose to make school a priority. If school is a
priority, the student knows that learning is important and required, not an option.
Parents Parents are the first teachers for children. Children learn what their parents
value and expect. Without parents who see school as vital, children see no point in
being at school much less learning anything. Parents 鈥?attitudes about school and
teachers transfer to the students both positively and negatively. Discipline is also
taught in the home and should include behaviors that occur outside the home as well.
Parenting is a full-time job, 24/7. It doesn 鈥檛 stop at the school door. Students can
learn what they value as important whether it 鈥檚 math, reading, and science or
karate, football, and computer skills. For students to show success on testing, they
must feel that it is important, be supported by parents, and be given the best
opportunity to learn. However, talented teachers, technology, school buildings, and
money cannot help the student who has no desire to learn.
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