Students listen and take notes during class on May 1,...

Students listen and take notes during class on May 1, 2013. Credit: Heather Walsh

Most children are eager and love school upon entering kindergarten, yet eventually dread going ["We need to get Common Core right," Opinion, Sept. 6].

Although incredibly overlooked, the key to the most productive educational programs worldwide is a high degree of student motivation. Motivated students score higher in English, math and most other diagnostic criteria.

The Common Core curriculum will succeed only if it is used to develop exciting lessons, as opposed to teaching for the test. It will succeed only if administrators support and encourage all teachers, as opposed to applying destructive pressure that filters down to students.

The Common Core must include an accurate diagnosis of student readiness levels, building on strengths while addressing weaknesses, attainable goals and the greatest motivator: ongoing acknowledgment of student achievements.

Other necessities for success are a wholesome school environment characterized by smiling faces, inspirational career orientation and guidance, and awakening students' dreams.

Educators over the years have been introduced to a parade of promising reforms, only to see them come and go. Mastery learning, whole language, and cooperative and interdisciplinary education are a few examples. I hope the time has come to synthesize the best of each into a complete package.

Fred Barnett, Lake Grove

Editor's note: The writer is retired teacher from the Levittown public schools.

I can't take another day of the self-inflicted trashing that we heap on our educational system when it comes to our ranking in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One inescapable fact remains after all the hand-wringing, soul-searching and bashing: Americans set the standard for research, for creativity and for entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

Name one individual from outside of our country who has affected the world so profoundly as technology executives Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Carly Fiorina or immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci. You can't!

The rest of the world rips off our cellphones, our computers and our software. They send their best and brightest to our great research institutions to learn from us. When it comes to science, technology, engineering and math, we lead and the rest of the world follows.

Michael Cohen, Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct associate professor of math at Hofstra University.


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