Respect for parents and kids. Professional development for teachers. Consequences for not trying. And more money—in certain areas. These are among the themes that emerge from essays our readers have written on what they believe matters most in school improvement. While most of the essays in this issue describe what Chicagoans are doing to invigorate schools and raise student achievement, several highlight problems. Literacy instruction in the early grades has been eroded by changes in teacher certification and a tendency to assign the least prepared teachers to the youngest children, writes teacher Shari Frost. In some schools, the pursuit of higher test scores has spawned bad instructional habits, writes teacher and educational consultant Barbara Kato.
In seven supplemental issues last school year, CATALYST reported in depth on the essential elements of school reform at the elementary level. To conclude our special series, we invited readers from a variety of communities and perspectives to share their personal stories and insights. We also issued an invitation to our e-mail subscribers.
We will continue to publish essays throughout the school year. The invitation stands.