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Orange County Public Schools

Orange County Schools in California released state tests scores with the announcement that scores had risen for the fifth straight year in a row. That means that 52% of students tested for English in grades 2-11 passed with a grade of proficient or above. 51% in math. Did you read that correctly? 52% and 51% passing means progress to the Orange County Schools. If youíre a parent with children in the Orange County Public Schools this should concern your greatly! The scary thing is that statewide percentages are at 43% and 41%. California Schools are currently failing our children.

So whatís a parent to do? Funding is an issue. Teaching the stateís huge immigrant population is an issue. The needs of special needs students are an issue. And no one has a really great answer. But as a parent, there is something that you can do. Itís a drastic measure that could impact the entire population of the Orange County Schools. But itís not an easy fix. In fact, a lot of the Orange County Schools' families will have serious pains from making this move. But itís that important. Parents of Orange County Schools- I challenge you to turn off your television during the school week.

Withdrawal Pains in the Orange County Schools
For the small percentage of you who are still reading, donít throw the remote at your screen quite yet. I know what Iím suggesting is a scary lifestyle change that a lot of Orange County Schools wonít ever consider. But for the academic and future success of your children, hear me out. Television drains energy. It doesnít matter if your Orange County Schools students are seniors or kindergarteners. When theyíre watching television theyíre not: interacting with friends and family, getting exercise, fully attending to homework, or using their brains. When children watch television they: get inappropriate messages from shows and commercials, get into a habit of inactivity, eat more junk food, and tend to become grumpier and fussier. All of these factors are seen in poor test scores and behavior in the Orange County Schools.

How Less Television Can Help the Orange County Schools
Now I know that Governor Schwarzenegger isnít about to pass any initiatives to help me rally Orange County Schools families to watch less television. In fact, you as the parent are the only person who can really make this significant change for your family. But why would you want to do this?

Are you busy? Really, really tired? Most Orange County Schools parents feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the day. Television can be a relaxing escape. But think for a moment about how busy your family is already with homework, dinner, and activities at the end of the day. What if TV was no longer a factor? How would your family spend that time? Would Orange County Schoolsí children get to bed earlier and get more sleep if they werenít up so late watching television? Would you have to time to read to them more? Take a walk together? Play a card game?

If you really want to see an improvement in the Orange County Schools, I dare you to try this with your family for one month. No television on school days. Arenít your children worth it?

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Orange County Public Schools