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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What matters most?



Hoping to improve students' academic performance, Congress implemented No Child Left Behind with strict outcomes-focused requirements places on schools.

But maybe that's not what parents really care about.

A new report out of Brigham Young University suggests that parents want their schools treat their children right more than they worry about whether their children's test scores rise, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

"While achievement is important, what we're trying to produce in schools and what parents want schools to produce is much broader than test score gains," study co-author and BYU associate professor Lars Lefgren told the paper.

Perhaps this is borne out as close to home as Pinellas County, where parents repeatedly have said that having a neighborhood school trumps so many other concerns, including diversity of the student body. That suggests that comfort, rather than the myriad other social issues, comes first.

But should it? Educators and community leaders continually tell us that American kids are lagging behind their peers internationally. Is that a signal that maybe parents don't know best? Or did schools actually do better when they had true local control, with parents playing a key role? Thoughts, anyone?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:28am]


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