Advocates of excellence in schools should support the BOAST bill now in the Maryland General Assembly. It provides tax credits to businesses who donate to schools – private, public, religious, whatever. The bill will benefit business owners, students, school administrators, and even tax payers: it is estimated that the bill would SAVE taxpayers anywhere from $7 million on up (to $200 million!) In these times, all savings are important, and we should be encouraging Maryland businesses to partner with schools.
For such a “progressive” state, Maryland is postively backwards in these sort of forward-looking programs. Pennsylvania has had a similar program for years, and it has been a great success, helping schools, students, and easing a burden on local taxpayers.
This bill has voted on several times in Maryland but never made it through – insist that your delegate(s) support it this time! It could mean a world of difference to Elijah School and every other school in Maryland!
One of the things we strive to to do at Elijah School is to integrate writing in all parts of our curriculum. In almost all of our classes we teach and require some level of writing proficiency. That can be a big challenge for kids with learning differences, but it is a necessary part of being able to express oneself.
Beginning in middle school, we teach spelling…and vocabulary…and grammar…and writing…and good editing practices. Why? Because if students aren’t learning the fundamentals at an early age, they won’t ever catch up. Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on how poor the writing skills of many MBAs are. Think of that – students have managed to get into some of the nation’s best graduate schools and they can’t express themselves lucidly in writing? http://www.nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/261362/wsj-acknowledges-poor-mba-student-writing-skills-jason-fertig I agree with the author that more writing-specific classes are not the answer, but a general emphasis on the fundamentals of education, most of which haven’t changed in decades.
As an insurance and banking executive, I can’t tell you how many time I received letters and resumes seeking employment that were riddled with misspellings, bad grammar, and a general failure to get the point of the document across in a concise and meaningful way. If you can’t get my name right – or the name of the company – you’re not going to get the job.
Elijah’s approach is different than many, to be sure. But our students are continually improving and learning how to be better writers – those who haev been with us for a few years now are light years ahead of where they started. And that’s going to bear fruit.