Sacramento has been trying a bold teaching technique in its public schools, or rather outside its schools. Teachers visit the homes of poor-performing students and engage parents, in hopes of improving their children's academic achievement.
The result: better communication between teachers and parents, and better student behavior toward teachers. And grades are up, although that's not directly attributable to the visits. After three years, it's apparently worked so well that California plans to take the program to 450 other schools. Districts in four other states are testing the idea.
These voluntary visits help counteract a trend in which many parents just expect - between school drop-off and pick-up - that their children will be not only academically educated, but morally developed and disciplined as well. One troubling sign of that trend is a static membership in parent-teacher organizations.
California, as usual, may have hit on something.
Will other states follow?
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor