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Letter: Education commitment like a three-legged stool

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Bill Riley


Although some taxpayers view education only as a tax burden, education is actually a three-legged stool. If any of the three legs fail, education fails. The three legs of the education stool are the school, the child and the parent.

It is very interesting that the media today are focused on only one of the three legs of the stool: the school. Included in the school are the teachers who carry out the duty of educating the child sent to them from the parent. It is also interesting today that research appears to be singularly focused on the teaching of subject matter by the teacher. The Indiana General Assembly appears to be singularly focused on the teacher with the byproduct being the education of the student.

I believe it is time for the Indiana General Assembly, the Indiana Department of Education, along with the United States Department of Education to slightly reorient its focus toward the home. It is also time for Indiana’s institutions of higher learning to refocus research toward the home. Higher education in Indiana does an excellent job in looking at what content areas are taught, how they are taught, when they are taught (at what age) and the duration they are taught. Additionally, higher education does an excellent job in looking at how students are assessed in their various content areas, when they are assessed and how often they are assessed. Higher education does an excellent job in looking at the teacher and the student, but not at the parent.

The home has each Indiana school-age child during his formative years. These are

the years that kids are taught why they should undertake and finish tasks and do those tasks as well as they can do them. Schools and teachers do teach the undertaking and finishing of tasks to the best of the student’s ability. Schools and teachers enter the ball game in the last quarter of play, no matter the age of the student.

Despite the perception that all students enter school with the same background and in the same way, similar to how raw materials enter a manufacturing facility, they do not. Schools and teachers accept every student who crosses the school threshold as they are, whether or not they have had any at-home learning experience. This is the last quarter of play.

It is time for higher education to step up to the plate and do its job. Only when the third leg of the stool is understood, will the stool stand erect so the job of education can be accomplished. Without such research, preferably by higher education, the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, along with other non-governmental, statewide organizations, will continue to focus on its perception of how schools and teachers are failing.

I believe it is time for us to broaden the education horizon and look at the third leg of the stool.

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