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Celebrating the "Village" that Teaches Arkansas Kids

From cafeteria workers to bus drivers, it takes a lot of people to make a successful school experience for Arkansas kids. Credit: AnitaPepper/morguefile.com
From cafeteria workers to bus drivers, it takes a lot of people to make a successful school experience for Arkansas kids. Credit: AnitaPepper/morguefile.com
November 18, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - This is American Education Week, to honor all the people it takes to provide a quality education to students.

Today is "Education Support Professionals Day," a nod to the contributions of school bus drivers, janitors, food-service workers and classroom aides.

Arkansas Education Association President Brenda Robinson says a good education involves a lot more than having good teachers.

"The greatest challenge facing teachers in Arkansas today is just having the opportunity for all children to learn, students having the resources they need in the classroom," says Robinson.

American Education Week, which began in 1921, also honors the major role of parents in their children's education. And it wraps up on Friday by highlighting the work of substitute teachers.

Robinson says one concern, both for Arkansas parents and teachers, is the hours of school time devoted to standardized testing. She believes there is too much focus on the tests.

"We do need to be held accountable, but sometimes we are testing our kids entirely too much," says Robinson. "If we could just focus on the whole child, everything that the child needs in order to succeed, then we will have opportunities for all students to learn."

The days of teaching solely with books, paper and pencils are long gone, says Robinson. So, it's important that district budgets stretch far enough for technology and other tools.

"I believe it takes a village to raise our children," says Robinson. "And when everyone is involved in the education process, it just makes educating children a whole lot better."

She says wraparound programs, including providing a nutritious breakfast at school and high-quality after-school activities, also help create a positive atmosphere for learning.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - AR