Voice of the People
Children must be taught many facets
I would like to share a thought with the community. Children spend a lot of their time in school. There are "schooling" programs available for very young children. Coincidentally, as we push cognitive learning, problems with misbehavior, social disorders and anti-social behaviors increase. Unfortunately, our focus has drastically moved from social learning to almost exclusively focusing on cognitive knowledge. Teachers no longer have time or opportunity to walk children through experimentation or problem solving.
Parents are delaying kindergarten entry based on high expectations of "readiness" which may actually have a negative impact. These kids end up behind other kids their age, who are more evenly matched socially. If we encourage children in their academic struggles, they learn to persist through setbacks. This, paired with social competence, will enhance future success.
Essentially, as we focus on ensuring testing success, we undermine real life success. Children must have a chance to experiment and be taught to persist when challenged. They also must be taught to navigate social conflict. Failing to teach the whole child physically, socially and cognitively, we fail the child wholly.
Obama's second term renews hope
On Monday, Jan. 21, Barack Obama gave me "hopelash." I stood on Pennsylvania Avenue shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of others in the cold wind to watch the Presidential Inaugural Parade. My feet hurt, and my fingers were numb, but the jubilance of the crowd made it impossible to be bothered by "mortal" discomforts. The conversations around me were of optimism and anticipation. A palpable giddiness for the parade to stroll by and of the political possibilities that could be in store over the next four years. Quite frankly, the outlook was exciting. In his next term, Obama must tackle some difficult issues, but for four hours on Monday, those issues seemed solvable. The hope and excitement that had waned since 2008 was back -- and in a BIG way.
Perhaps the naysayers will be correct and the second-term curse will relegate Obama to the sidelines. Political obstacles and booby-traps abound in Washington. Hot button questions will demand answers. And everyone (including myself) wouldn't be 100 percent satisfied. But the possibilities of what could be are exciting enough to make a cold January day in D.C. one of the most hopeful of my life.
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