Teaching Limits

Fixing the education system.
Sept. 5 2008 1:56 PM

Teaching Limits

For the debut week of this blog, I concentrated on teachers,in part because that's where much of the political debate seems to be focusedright now. (Last night, John McCain told his fellow Republicans, a little menacingly, that he wanted to "help badteachers find another line of work," to raucous cheers.)

But as Slate readers have commented in the Fray ( here , forexample) and in the email messages they've sent me, there are some issues that are difficult if notimpossible for teachers to deal with alone. Funding inequities oftenshortchange the school districts where low-income students live, and after thelast bell rings, those students often return to chaotic communities andtroubled home lives, both of which make it harder to succeed in school.

That's the other big political debate in education right now- what can and should schools do differently in order to improve the lives ofdisadvantaged students - and that's what I'm hoping to get into next week. Fornow, thanks for reading, and to all the teachers, students and parents outthere, congratulations on surviving the first week of school.

Paul Tough is the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest To Change Harlem and America. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a speaker on various topics including education, poverty, parenting, and politics.

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