Woodrow Wilson High School math teacher Robert Irby wrote a column recently for Dallas Morning News’ Teacher Voices page in the Sunday paper. In it, he addresses  what he calls the “new crisis in town: the urgent need for education reform” and offers his observations as a secondary teacher and parent of two high schoolers. (PS Bob: For a math teacher, you’re an excellent word-guy.)

Irby mentions the documentary Waiting for Superman and takes issue with a key premise in the film, that poor teachers, protected by teachers unions and by administrators afraid to stir up a fuss, are to blame for failing to ignite an interest in learning. “I am in full agreement that there is an urgent need for change in our public schools,” he says. “Uninterested students, coupled with low parental involvement, create a challenge that some teachers are incapable of overcoming.”

Irby stresses an important factor that parents of high schoolers know: “Most adolescents are not hard-wired to thirst for knowledge.” There is no substitute for parental involvement, Irby reminds us, by parents “who demand that their children learn and send engaged students into the classroom.”

I hope you’ll take a minute to read and consider Irby’s compelling argument. Just do me one favor. Don’t ask this word-girl to tackle any math problems.


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