TWO IMPORTANT, NEEDED SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS - BY: Dr. Floyd E.McDowell

Thorough research-proven program and cost effective information about these two needed programs has been given to the following elected and appointed state education decision-makers: State Legislators; Governor, his appointed Secretary of Education and State School Board; State P-T-A and Delaware State Education Association. All have ignored this valuable information I sent them as Chair of our Delaware Coalition. All are directly and indirectly supporting the corporate world’s sole agenda which is to destroy our public schools so they can be privatized as cash cows like they are trying to privatize social security and medicare/medicaid. Their key weapon in this continuing destructive assault is superimposing irrelevant, disconnected, costly, useless standardized test driven projects accompanied by draconian regulations that place strait jackets and handcuffs on teachers, other building level program staff, students and their parents.

The first of these two thoroughly research-proven program and cost effective school improvement programs is the Imagination Library program provided by Dolly Parton’s non-profit Dollywood Foundation. Since it began in1997 in her home county in East Tennessee, it has provided over seventy million free age-appropriate books once a month from birth through ages four and five to preschool children in 46 states, Australia, Canada, England and Ireland. The total cost for twelve books a year per child is $32. For over a decade, the Tennessee Governor’s Books From Birth program has provided over twenty four million of these books to all of their state’s preschoolers through age five.

Many state and national research studies inform us that preschool children enrolled in this Imagination Library program accomplish the following over children not receiving these books each month: much higher achievement in school; higher graduation rates; and going deeper into higher education. Our Delaware state education decision-makers proclaim they’re interested in early childhood development and education. For less than a mere two million each year, all of our state’s 57,500 children from birth through age five years of age would receive twelve age-appropriate Imagination Library books each year.

The second readily available school improvement program corrects the serious sleep deprivation experienced by our adolescent middle and high school students caused by a too early school start time. Many research studies are available on the internet under Adolescent Sleep Deprivation which explain the many serious health and school problems caused by lack of healthy sleep. Many automobile accidents and suicides are attributed to sleep deprivation. These research findings, available on the internet, were accomplished by many national organizations, including the following: American Pediatrics Academy; National Association of School Psychologists; and the National Sleep Foundation.

All of these research studies revealed that no matter what time our adolescents go to bed, they don’t fall asleep until around eleven o’clock. This research informsus all adolescents need a minimum of 8 ˝ hours sleep on school nights and preferably 9 1/2 hours. The simple, no-cost solution to this serious health and school problem is to change their school start time to at least 8:30 AM and preferably 9 AM. Our elementary school students get neededsleeptime by fallingasleep earlier and should have the earlier school start time.

Many of our nation’s education decision-makers have understood these research findings and changed to a needed school start time for their adolescent students and found it eliminated these serious health and school problems. They also found the later start time did not interfere with student’s extra-curricular activities such as participation in athletic sports and part-time jobs.

All parents of adolescent students and taxpayers should access this research information under Adolescent SleepDeprivation on the internet, understand it’s importance and insist our state and local education decision-makers quickly implement no-cost needed school start times for adolescent students.

Dr. Floyd E.McDowell, Sr. of Bear, DE is Chair of the nonprofit, nonpartisan DEinformedvoters.org web site. He can be reached at (302) 832-2799 or via email at flydmcdwll@verizon.net

This article was published recently in the News Journal and the Delaware State News.

Posted on Nov 11, 16 | 5:11 am