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Observe American Education Week

November 16, 2012
Estherville Daily News

American Education Week, a week set aside to honor the accomplishments of America's schools, concludes today.

American Education is indeed a modern marvel as it has embraced technology in the classroom and made great strides in bringing education to people of all ages in all walks of life.

So where do we begin?

Well, let's start with school boards.

And you know who those people are. They're the ones who take on the (unfortunately, quite often) thankless job of making tough budgeting decisions as they try to strike a balance between diminishing funding and unfunded mandates.

And where would education be without our teachers.

Back in the day, teachers could get their teaching degree in four years. That's no longer the case. It now takes at least five years to complete a major field of study plus the required education courses plus student teaching. And when a teacher graduates, it's usually with a huge debt and a job that doesn't pay much more than many jobs that don't require a college degree - and sometimes even less.

In addition to their eight-hour day, teachers can spend that much time at home doing prep work. And then their summers are taken up by taking courses to further their education and maintain certification. (Ask any teacher and you'll get an earful about not having a three-month vacation every summer).

And where would we be without our support staff.

We often forget the role these important people play. They might be aides, custodians, administrative assistants or school nurses. Whatever their position, we not only expect but demand that they go the extra mile and act in the role of parents and protectors of our children. And they do one heck of a job of it.

And then there's the kids.

In addition to being the consumers of education, in a way, they're also the stars, especially today.

They're the ones in school musicals and plays, competing in speech and band contests, playing sports and competing all the way to the state and the national level. Kids have more pressure on them today to perform than ever before. The important thing to remember, though, when they're out there on the field or court, is that they're kids. And we should just let them play the game and have fun.

As you see, American education is really a partnership of people at all levels. And that's what makes it work.

And that's why, when you really get down to it, it's really the best there is.



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