In light of Stamford Public School's to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind and some of the to assist in meeting those standards, educators on the inside and outside of SPS are scrambling for solutions.
"This is a problem we've known about for awhile; one of the richest cities in the country has one of the biggest achievement gaps," Executive Director Eugene Campbell said. As director, Campbell oversees the Yerwood Center's "extended day" program during the school year, and the center's summer learning program after the calendar school year. Both programs have hundreds of students each year.
Campbell, who works with children from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, stressed that the achievement gap has nothing to do with social class.
"20 out of 21 schools did not meet the standards of No Child Left Behind," Campbell said. "It's a crisis for the young people in that they won't be prepared to enter the workforce. This is a highly competitive workforce that requires young people to have skills in math, science, and reading. There are young people who could wind up permanently underemployed due to the achievement gap."
Campbell doesn't place blame on Stamford public schools for the achievement gap that may be responsible for low school ratings, which in turn invoke measures such as the formation of school governance councils. In fact, he doesn't square blame with anyone, and has solutions of his own as an educator.
"I approach this with optimism in that people are trying to fix things," Campbell said. "We need to refocus on the middle schools. By then, you know academically where a student is at. They develop individualism, and begins thinking about what they want to do as adults."
Pointing to the link between underdeveloped students and underemployed adults, Campbell also suggests that schools place a greater emphasis on preparing the current American school generation for a "real world" that will be vastly different from any preceding generation.
"We've made a mistake in abandoning vocational training for students who are not college-bound. You do need some skillset, even if it's not a college-trained skillset," Campbell said.
Campbell stated that students of all levels should receive focus pertaining to their specific needs, and in his role, the public school system should share its cirriculum with outer-school educators, such as himself, so that they know what to focus on.
"When you talk about 1st and 2nd graders that can't read very well, that's something we need to focus on," Campbell said.
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