Reader weighs in on education

DEAR HELOISE: I have been reading with interest the comments on the state of education in today's world. I feel that those in authority need to reexamine how to teach our children.

I worked in elementary schools for over 20 years, and I have seen a lot of changes in the school system. There have been several important subjects kids need to know that are no longer stressed. Yes, they do include cursive writing, but people also need to know how to sign their names when using credit cards or signing a contract. Recently, I was talking to a parent who said her child was not taught how to tell time using a standard clock. She had to teach him herself how to tell time.

In this fast-changing world, kids need to know geography and histories of not just the U.S., but all countries. It saddens me that there is so much hatred in this world. If more people learned about other people and cultures that are different from theirs, maybe they would understand that it's OK to be different and coexist with others.

In some places, people do not value education; they do not feel it is important. I see so many school-aged children not in school during school hours. A child cannot learn if they aren't in class. My mother and father encouraged me to do my best in school, listen to my teachers and be nice to other people, whether I liked it or not. I was in school to learn and become prepared for life.

Although not every subject was fun, I was there to be educated. Now, having fun 24/7 is all that children want. Many children are in single-parent homes, and they don't have the support system I was lucky to have at home. Parents, teachers and children need to work together so that the child can be successful in school.

Today, computers are becoming the norm in schools. I know computers are important, but students need to be aware of a variety of learning methods to do well in life. Computers can be used as part of the educational process, but they shouldn't be the only source. -- Patsy R., Halifax, Pennsylvania

Patsy, I believe our method of educating our children needs an overhaul with more time in the classroom, eliminating spring and winter breaks, and giving more authority and respect to teachers.

For most people who have children, it's important for them to remember that your children are the only thing of any real and lasting value that you will leave behind when you die. Their education is of vital importance if they are to succeed in life.

If we fail them in this area, we set most of them up for failure in the future. --Heloise


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DEAR HELOISE: As usual, I bought too much wallpaper for my guest bathroom, and I'd like to use it up rather than having the excess stuffed in a cupboard. Do you have any hints on what to do with the extra wallpaper? -- Lisa D., Little Rock, Arkansas

Lisa, yes I do! You can use it to cover old books, wrap gifts or even laminate it to use as placemats. But try to save some just in case you need to make some repairs to your guest bathroom walls. -- Heloise

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