TREND Spring 2017 - Page 36

H elping C hildren S ucceed Dr. JC Bowman How do we know that we are focusing on what really matters in public education? That could be debated for a long time and still never be settled. Yet there are some things we can do to pursue success in children. In general, our educational system does a terrific job of teaching academics to our students. However, it is questionable if we are responding sufficiently to the increasing emotional needs of children. Policymakers and stakeholders need to take a serious look at the current mental health system in our country. In schools in some parts of the country, social emotional health is being addressed with equal enthusiasm as academic gains are addressed. JC Bowman While standardized testing may be reduced or devalued eventually, for the immediate future we can expect testing to be part of the K-12 academic culture for public schools, regardless of current public opinion. We hope standardized testing will continue to evolve in a positive way. Hopefully, that does not mean more testing, but changing how data may be gleaned and utilized from minimal testing. Many educators feel the testing culture has taken away a teacher’s flexibility and qualities such as “persistence, self- control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence” are being lost. The loss of these traits by students is to the frustration of many parents and teachers. Students need instruction in both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.