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August 29, 2022
Vol. 80
No. 1
Relevant Read

Parents Can't Do It Alone

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    Cover of the book "Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child's Potential, Fulfilling Society's Promise"
      Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child's Potential, Fulfilling Society's Promise by Dana Susskind (Penguin Random House, 2022)
      A central point pediatric surgeon Dana Susskind makes in her new book is that helping children's brains develop strongly in the first few years of their lives is the key thing missing in efforts to raise U.S. students' achievement. Although strengthening K–12 public education is important, Susskind asserts, we provide too little support and real teaching to children ages one to four.
      Susskind notes that parents can make a huge difference during those years simply by talking with their children in ways that, as shown by research, fuel brain development. But due to current economic and policy structures, she says, few parents have the time or resources to do this effectively. This is where educator-family partnerships can help. Susskind argues that early-learning advocates, including educators at all levels, need to press for systemic changes that can help parents gain more time for the kind of interactions that build kids' brains. Educators also can play a role by helping all parents understand the facts and implications of recent research into how children's brains develop, especially how malleable intelligence is from day one.

      Naomi Thiers is the managing editor of Educational Leadership.

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