Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

March 21, 2004

Performance in school tied to life at home

It certainly seems as though Anne Arundel County is making a tremendous effort to turn around the very troubled Van Bokkelen Elementary School ("Elementary aims to boost performance," The Sun, March 14). And while I applaud the county for instituting longer school hours, less vacation time, smaller teacher/student classroom ratios and instructor accountability, I find it difficult to believe that any substantial progress will be made without including the children's parents in the equation. The kids who attend this school are not genetically lacking, and the fact that one third of the pupils voluntarily enrolled in an academic program last summer indicates to me that they are not lacking in effort. Likely, their progress will start and end with their home life. Is there an effort underway to ensure that the children are well-rested, well-fed and content? Do their parents read to them, and help them with their homework? Are their parents even capable of helping them with their homework, and do they understand where a child should be academically when they enter kindergarten? Where are the parents of the two-thirds of the children who did not take advantage of the free summer program offered by the county? Why do I have the feeling that the children who showed up for the free summer academic session are not the ones who most need the help? These things must be looked into, and help should be offered to the parents who are willing to accept it. Let's face it; there is nothing inherent in the infrastructure of the school building, the teachers or the students themselves that would lead one to assume that it would be the worst school in the county. Instead, it always goes back to the home and the neighborhood.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

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