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Preparing Your Child for a 21st Century Education

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Children's education has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. Education policymakers are all focused on accountability in teaching and learning now. That has translated into the development of standardized tests to ensure that students are meeting common core state standards.

Of course there are other measures of academic achievement, but these assessments are seen as a universal yardstick and they are not going anywhere. If anything teachers, students, and parents should be prepared to see even more testing beyond the basics of math and reading.Many states now have subject tests for the social and science studies and the SAT now includes a writing portion.

A lot hinges on these test scores such as school funding, teacher pay/bonuses, and of course your child's educational progress. It can be frustrating and frightening if your child's school is designated as "in need of improvement." That is code for low-performing school. But you don't have to feel helpless and stuck. Do you remember the movie Lean on Me where Principal Joe Clark rallied the parents to  support their children as they got ready for the big national test? The same principle applies today (pun intended).

So, how can parents get involved? The U.S. Department of Education has a resource page of supplemental educational services that offer assistance.Community organizations called LEAs (local education agencies) provide eligible students with academic tutoring and after-school programs. In San Francisco, the Metro Academy is credited with helping students pass their exams and become first-generation college students. Metro Academy is a partnership between San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and the local school district. There are services like these all around the country.

But what if your child is struggling and doesn't qualify for an LEA program? Your options are to hire a private tutor or enroll him or her in an enrichment center. Both of these can be pricey. Another option is to get academic assistance online in the comfort of your own home. The benefits of these services are numerous such as scheduling, pacing, and affordability. Plus, incorporating technology into your child's tutoring plan can be a great motivational tool.

Testing is becoming a part of life that our children have to become accustomed to and it is our job to prepare them. They are going to need strong testing skills not just for exams, but also for many professions.It's going to take a village to educate our children.



AnnaZed said...

I wish I had known about The U.S. Department of Education resource page of supplemental educational services when my daughter was smaller (if it existed); we had some hard years with some tests for which she simply was not prepared.

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