Think outside the box to improve education
There have been many measures suggested for increasing performance in Buffalo Public Schools. One of them is to have longer days. I submit this approach will have limited success without much greater involvement of parents and vested interests, including Buffalo businesses and colleges. The problem is how to get them involved.
Students who are concentrating in college preparatory curriculums probably need limited extra help. Those who are drifting and unfocused should be directed toward graduating with basic proficiency in subject areas that will enable them to be competitive for entry-level jobs such as auto repair, carpentry, electronics, practical nursing, plumbing, retailing, computer operation, etc.
How do we increase parental interest and participation – the most difficult endeavor? I suggest we must first reach out to them with mailings and public media explaining how their children can increase their opportunities of finding basic-level employment in the trades. Increased stimulus could include providing food stamps or other tangible means to the parents. Perhaps these incentives could be linked to school attendance.
I submit that employers in Western New York do have greatly vested interests in having a strong, reliable pool of high school graduates with core skills that can be applied to their operations at entry level. They can greatly enhance this goal by visiting schools and presenting real-world applications of basic skills (reading, writing, math, typing, computer, etc.) that are needed in their trades and businesses.
It would be quite beneficial if this program enlisted the help of local college students to assist teachers as tutors in the above subjects.
I may be thinking “out of the box” but serious and innovative measures must be taken to provide greater interest and opportunities to Buffalo students.
Richard P. Leonard