Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Educator Urges Selectivity Asst. U.S. Secretary Says to Stress Programs with Best Results

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Educator Urges Selectivity Asst. U.S. Secretary Says to Stress Programs with Best Results

Article excerpt

Sharon Porter Robinson, an assistant U.S. education secretary for research and improvement, had some advice for Metro East educators meeting with her at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville:

"Do more powerful stuff, even if it means doing fewer things," she told them.

Robinson was referring to the teachers' battle to maintain quality education programs.

She said schools need to focus more on what they do best, and try to do even better with those programs while cutting other programs that haven't worked as well.

She said the federal government has a limited role in setting educational standards for local schools, but it's an important role. She noted that only the federal government can command the staff and money needed to do enough research to determine what educational materials and programs are the most successful for a majority of students.

Even so, Robinson repeatedly urged the Metro East education officials to listen to their own teachers, pupils and parents. She said the best programs for a school are often determined right at the school.

"You've got to get right down to the (school) building level, and you've got to begin with the student," she said.

Robinson spoke at a round-table discussion at SIUE sponsored by university Chancellor Ted Sanders and SIUE President Nancy Belck. In attendance were some department heads from SIUE and administrators from public school districts and community colleges in the Metro East area.

Sanders, a former acting U.S. education secretary under President George Bush, said he had known Robinson for several years as she began working for the Education Department and even earlier when he worked with her on a privately funded research project on early childhood education.

Sanders said Robinson, a former National Education Association official with a doctor's degree in educational administration, had worked throughout her career to protect the civil rights of students. …

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