The nation’s new education secretary, John King Jr., plans to focus on the importance of a “well-rounded education” in a speech at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts on Thursday. With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, schools will have new flexibility with regard to their own accountability measures. This provides schools with an opportunity to broaden their focus and emphasize subjects such as social studies, the arts, and world languages. The Bush era’s No Child Left Behind Act placed heavy weight on more classical subjects such as reading and math, largely ignoring other subjects entirely. Critics have complained for years about the stringent emphasis standardized tests place on to math and reading, thus locking teachers into a box with little to no options for any other subject material. King’s hope is that the concept of a well-rounded education will be embraced by schools and educators so that American students will be well more versed in a variety of subjects. This will give schools an opportunity to define educational excellence in a much more comprehensive way, which will in turn broaden students’ horizons and lead to a more engaging education process.
I read constantly, and I always encourage my students to do the same. A $10 book can contain a lifetime’s worth of insights, and all you need to do to absorb those insights is carve out some time and find a comfortable chair! Persistent reading, goal setting, and meditation are the three qualities shared by almost all of the most successful people in every field, and priming your mind with the right books can literally change your life.