ORONO — Educators and the public need to be in front of change, not on the tail end holding on for their lives, a consultant said Friday at the conclusion of a weeklong conference on middle-level education held at the University of Maine.
During the week, 300 teachers and administrators representing 60 schools from New England, New York and Canada worked on developing projects on issues facing fifth- through eighth-graders.
Friday’s remarks by Russell Quaglia, a UM assistant professor of educational administration, was a reminder to the educators to follow through with some of the projects that they worked on at the conference. Afterall, Quaglia told them, change is inevitable.
While many people don’t like change or are hesitant to change, Quaglia said, demographics and statistics show a need for change.
Today, only about 41 percent of this country’s young people will reach age 18 without having to face their parents’ divorce or separation or the death of a parent. And 12 percent of the young people will have been born out of wedlock.
Life inside the classrooms has also changed, he told the audience, which included school board members, parents and superintendents.
A survey of teachers in 1958 showed the major school problems to be pupils talking in class, sloppy homework, chewing gum in class and pupils not staying in line. In 1990, the top concerns among surveyed teachers were drugs, vandalism and dropouts.