This article also adds fuel to the fire for why I went to school for EARLY CHILDHOOD, not elementary education. Lately I have been encouraged to look into teaching the "upper grades" aka 3rd or 4th grade. I am not really sure how I feel about it. In some ways it is a perfect fit, but in other ways it takes me even farther from helping students to acquire the foundational skills they need for their rest of schooling. It has been on my mind a lot lately and to be honest you will get a different answer each time you talk to me.
Here are some of my "ah-ha" and "yes, I totally agree with that" statements from the article:
"Research has shown that high-quality, intensive early education helps prepare students intellectually and socially, and seems to improve academic success, reduce dropout rates, and reduce the need for special education programs and grade repetition. Such programs also can increase the likelihood that students will pursue higher education or training, which translates into reduced delinquency, arrests, teen pregnancy, and welfare reliance. The gains have been particularly noticeable in students from disadvantaged backgrounds who enter such programs by age two."
"Through the 18th birthday, the average child will spend less than 9 percent of life in school. That leaves most education occurring outside the schoolhouse."
"studies show that the best early childhood programs are staffed by teachers with college degrees and early education certification, offer developmentally appropriate education, include a focus on language development and comprehensive services such as meals and health and developmental screenings and encourage parental involvement."
"But the dozens of Memphis public school teachers I have met over the past several years are serious, dedicated teachers who care about their students, take too much work home, and spent money out of their own pockets on teaching supplies"
So I have pretty much quoted the entire article at this point...