Who are the champions for children and public education?

Posted by Ronald | August 2, 2014  |  No Comment

When we think of champions, we often think of individuals and teams in sports such as baseball, football and basketball. Rarely do we think of or label other individuals and professionals as champions. In this special feature, we raise the critical questions: Who are the champions for children and public education? Why does Executive Director Dan A. Domenech of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) see school superintendents as the champion for children and public education? What is the single greatest factor limiting student achievement? What is the key to overcome living in poverty?

AASA, founded in 1865, is the School Superintendent Association, as well as the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the U.S. and abroad. In an excerpt of Domenech’s speech at the National Superintendent Symposium in Newport Beach, Calif., he purported that school superintendents are the champions for children and public education, not individuals and teams in sports. “Superintendents are the voice for all the children in the community, including the many children that would have no voice if not for them. They have awesome responsibility to protect public education from the private and political interests that regard our schools as investment opportunities for corporate gains rather than fostering the American tradition of an educated community that is the core of our democratic process.”

Despite the many challenges confronting our schools, Domenech reported that there has been a decline in the dropout rate and an improvement in high school completion rate respectively for individuals 16 to 24 years old between 1972 and 2008. He reported that more students such as Hispanics are attending college than before. In 2003, for instance, 23.5 percent of Hispanics attended college compared to 31.9 percent in 2010. He also reported that a number of our schools are recognized as America’s Best High Schools according to U.S. News and World Report.

While these are good benchmarks for success, Domenech said that poverty is the single greatest factor limiting student achievement. Most low-performing schools have a high percentage of students living in poverty and, subsequently, have the lowest graduation rates. He suggested that the key to overcoming poverty is education. When students’ educational attainment is a high school diploma, they earn more wages from employment than students who do not finish high school. These graduates also have a lower employment rate than non-graduates.

For additional information on Domenech’s address, view the powerpoint presentation on champions for children and public education at: http://www.aasa.org/

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of six books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education,” “How to Eradicate Hazing,” “Professional Career Paths” “Your Answers to Education Questions” and “How to revitalize the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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