Photo: Barbara Johnston/Thinkfactory Media
A lot of people think they've got the solution to America's dismal education system without ever teaching a day in their lives, but not Tony Danza. The Hollywood actor spent a year as a rookie teacher at Northeast High School in Philadelphia teaching 10th grade English.
Here's what Tony wrote about his experience:
Everyone knows we have a problem. By every education metric, we’re no longer No. 1 in the world. Dropout rates in many districts approach 50%, and some estimates put the number of dropouts at more than 1 million a year. How do we sustain a great country with those numbers? Education has become a national security issue. If we don’t get our schools right, we won’t have the labor force or the soldiers we’ll need in the future.
A parent doesn’t always think that way, though. A parent asks, justifiably, how do I help my kid?
There’s one important thing I learned in the trenches at Northeast High in Philadelphia: Teachers have no problem being held accountable by parents. In fact, they crave parent involvement.
If parents do nothing else, they should persuade their sons and daughters to take part in their own education. Kids should hear the message loud and clear: “You have one life, and this small part of it will make all the difference.”
And parents, you should walk the talk by showing up for the play, the debate, the science fair. There were evenings when, as an English teacher hosting an open house for parents, I stood mostly alone.