LINDA NOONAN, in her letter “Better Education for faster growth” (Feb. 15), asserts that schools in Massachusetts “need to change the way they prepare students.” Many of our high school and even college graduates struggle to read and write, and lack fluency in math. This is compelling evidence that she is right.
Noonan does not, however, propose any specific changes. Rather, she suggests repeatedly that our schools should produce workers who are qualified for the jobs that are waiting for them. I agree, though I believe we should expect more of our schools than simply to help business owners fill job slots. To prepare students for the world that awaits them, we must teach them as children, not workers-in-training.
Like Noonan, I understand that our prosperity depends on having excellent schools. Otherwise, I would have not committed the last 20 years to teaching English in the Westwood public schools. Of course I want my students to work hard — now and in the future — and to possess the skills they will need to succeed in life. The jobs of the future may differ from the jobs of today. I know if I can teach my students to be stronger readers and writers and, above all, to be stronger thinkers, they will be able to meet any challenge they may encounter in their work lives.