Street Talk; What’s it going to take to get US grades up?
Posted on Dec. 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 14, 2013 at 12:35 a.m.

Correspondent Mark Shephard visited the Elkhart Youth and Community Center and asked, “The U.S. continues to fall in world education ranking’s, and average is just not good enough to succeed in today’s global economy. What do you think it’s going to take to get the U.S. back to the top of the class?”

Bernard Batey, Elkhart Central freshman, Elkhart:

“Work harder.” Follow-up question: What are some of the biggest distractions that you see? “Fighting, like every day. The same kids fight every day. The officers need to stay down the halls and watch them.”

Charles Jackson, Elkhart Central sophomore, Elkhart:

“Teachers could do a better job, and maybe longer days in school and some tutoring classes. And some activities that will get more students engaged in wanting to be in school more, and pass classes, and listen in classes.” Follow-up question: What do we do about situations in which kids have too many distractions at home and at school? “You try to stop the bullying, and like I said, more activities that will make students not want to do stuff like that, and be more friendly to other students, and help each other out. When they help each other out instead of bickering and fighting with each other they can become friends.”

John Lendman Sr., buyer and estimator, Elkhart:

“I think it starts with the home, and to get back the discipline at home of how important it is (to realize) that knowledge is power to succeed in this world now. I think our middle class is gone, and I think it (the world) is going to have an upper class and a lower class, and to bring back that middle class, I think you’re going to have to get more knowledge and more education.” Follow-up question: Even though we continue to fall, do you think we’re capable as a society and as a country to fix these problems? “Yeah, I do. I think we’re capable as a society. We have good teachers out there — what’s left. We’re losing teachers, we need more teachers, but what we have in my opinion is good teachers that care. We need more, and we just need to pay our teachers more to keep continuing to move down that road, or we’re going to lose them.”

Cindy Vitou, property manager, Elkhart:

“I just think the schools need to go back to the regular hours they used to have, so the kids have more time for their homework, and therefore I think, they would see a raise in their grades also. They don’t go to school till almost 9 o’clock — the elementary — and they don’t get home till 4:30. By the time they get home, they barely have any time.” Follow-up question: Do you think our young elementary students are capable of learning computer code as young Asian students are doing? “Oh yeah, because they start them on computers so early. My granddaughter is 9, and she can do a lot, and I never even thought of a computer at nine. They have computer time each day in class. She has a website for math on the computer that she can practice math things that they’re doing in class.”

Tiffany Baker, staffing coordinator, Elkhart:

“I think that it’s going to take the U.S. working together with teachers to come together to a cooperative agreement on basic education guidelines — standards, standardized testings. I feel when they implemented the No Child Left Behind Act, it kind of delayed education and bringing up everybody as a whole because some kids don’t learn as fast as others. I think they should look into better teaching methods, maybe more hands-on teaching — bringing the kids outside the classroom and out of the books and learning real-life techniques to get them up to the standards.”

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