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Our Opinion: The benefit of creativity

July 02, 2001

Whenever educators find innovative ways to increase the interest of our youths in their education, those educators deserve credit. One recent example is the joint effort between the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center and the El Centro Elementary School District.

The center and the district, with funding from the National Science Foundation, will start the informal science education program that will allow middle-school students to do experiments and research and interact with real research scientists at the center.

Such programs go a long way toward giving youths a more interactive way of learning. Yes, being in the classroom and listening to a teacher is essential to a young person's education, but an education should go beyond that and that is exactly what this latest program will do.

We are confident some of the youths participating will find themselves interested in learning in new ways — perhaps some will see just what an education can do for them if they work hard enough. They also will learn how things happen in nature and thereby learn some important lessons about life. The program will be opened to other school districts in the future, according to plans.

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We applaud the effort of educators who strive to find better ways of guiding our youths. We have plenty of educators in the Valley who are constantly looking for new methods of instruction.

For example, a group of teachers gathered at Southwest High School in El Centro on Saturday to talk about new ways to get students to read. A teacher with an open mind toward education is a teacher who can become a better educator.

As was discussed at the conference Saturday, parents play a critical role in the effort to get kids to read. Parents have to make their home one where reading is important. In such environments kids are bound to follow their parents' lead and start to read simply for the fun of it.

We all play a key role in the education of our youths and we all can learn new ways to help kids learn. It is good to see new programs in the Imperial Valley and to see teachers trying to become better teachers.

If we all try, in the near future we will see scores on state-mandated tests start to improve. More important, we will see our youths have a chance at a brighter future.

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