Celebrating American Education Week

Sunday, November 13, 2011

By Ron L. Anderson

Nov. 13 to 19 will mark the 90th annual observance of American Education Week -- a time for recognizing our public schools and the relationships between teachers, support staff, students, parents and the community.

The theme of this year's celebration, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education. Positive and open communication between children, parents and teachers is the key for a child's success in school. This strong partnership between teacher and parent is the foundation of our educational system.

Today's teachers are required to do more than teach basic skills. They must nurture and inspire children. They help students learn essential skills not always measured in testing, such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, cooperation and problem solving. These are skills that will help each student throughout life. Our schools are doing an excellent job preparing students for their futures. I would like to share with you some facts about Missouri public schools that will reinforce that statement:

Only four states in the nation scored better than Missouri with the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores last year.

Of those who took the Advanced Placement exams in Missouri, the number earning college credit was fifth in the nation. Missouri had a 59 percent success rate this year compared to the national average of 56 percent.

The graduation rate in Missouri has increased from 75.3 percent in 1994 to 86.4 percent in 2011. Jackson's graduation rate was 93.3 percent in 2011. We are keeping children in school and graduating more students.

During this American Education Week, we ask our community members to think of the teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Reflect on that first-grade teacher, social studies teacher or coach who went above and beyond what was required to help you. This is our week to remember and celebrate our public education system.

Ron L. Anderson is the superintendent of the Jackson School District.

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