I am sincerely hopeful that the good people of Macon County, especially those involved with education (both educators and parents) will consider very mindfully the sound and right-minded advice Tom Hill offered in his letter of Nov. 26, "How to improve our schools."
There are two methods by which we learn, in the halls of learning (our schools) and in the conflicts of life. We must make sure we provide our children the very best of the former in order to prepare them for when they inevitably come face to face with the latter.
Good parenting, I believe is the single most important factor in cultivating student achievement. In order for children to become successful at the three Rs of reading, ’riting, and ’rithmatic, parents must first teach them the other three Rs; respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness. These, not high IQ, define the educable child. When a child goes to school he takes his parents with him in the form of their discipline, their expectations, and their values. Teachers cannot accomplish all that needs to be done, alone. It requires real parent involvement to keep a child on grade level throughout their academic careers. When I attended public schools (1945-1957) we had what was called a "PTA," (Parent-Teacher Association). The key word there is association. From what I recall, my schools were always packed on nights of these gettogethers.
When I began working in schools in 1981 (after retiring from the Navy) I observed that the schools that were the most successful were those that encouraged and supported parent participation.
Following Tom Hill's recommendations, I think, would go a long, long way toward advancing the positive educational goals you'll want to set for your community.
David L. Snell — Dillsboro, N.C.