Accessing Education's Greatest Human Resource

In the political agenda to reform education, we have forgotten a great time proven truth: reform will not be achieved through standardized tests, teaching to the test, restructuring schools, privatizing schools, rewriting curriculum or standardizing curriculum, if we continue to oppress and repress teachers. The greatest human resource we have are teachers. It has always been true: from Jesus and Socrates to Rosa Parks and Helen Keller. There are no role models without teachers. Teachers must be freed of political harassment. Teacher must be allowed to help lead, structure and govern schools.

We must cherish the human heart. We must educate the whole child. We must return to our source, our teacher, for true reform.

Recognizing the essential role teachers have in educational reform, the Center for Whole Child Education offers graduate courses for school staff that address the most pressing issues in education. Our talented professors work with school districts across the country and have created courses that draw from the strategies, research, and experience of talented educators.

These diverse courses focus on the integration and effective utilization of experiential, social and emotional learning. The courses will assist in the creation of school and classroom environments that foster individual success and communal achievement.

Acknowledging that educator's time is precious, we offer conveniently located weekend and summer courses that provide three Neumann University graduate credits and 90 hours of Act 48 hours through CCIU. Courses are led by two professors to better meet the educational goals of all participants and ensure individualized collaboration. The cost of each course is $700.

Our courses are uniquely designed to be practical with strategies and activities that can be implemented into your classroom or school. They will leave you energized with a fresh perspective and renewed sense of passion. Please check out our course descriptions and schedule at http://www.thomstecher.com/gc-coursedesc.asp.

Mission Critical: Knowledge AND Character

“There is no significant learning without a significant relationship.” Dr. James Comer

We are at a very critical time in american education. Today’s educators are under oppressive pressure to have our children perform on standardized tests. Administrators, teachers and students are feeling the pressure, burden and disconnect of “teaching to the test”.

The pressure from politicians to drive up test scores is not for the benefit of children or education. We have lost our way. We have lost sight of the original goal of education. The purpose of public education was to create a knowledgeable citizen that would contribute to and serve our society. Knowledge and service. Teaching to the test may document some knowledge gained but sacrifices time needed for character development. Knowledge without character is dangerous.

“With 1 out of every 100 Americans - more than 2.3 million - now behind bars, the United States imprisons far more people - both proportionally and absolutely - than any other county in the world, including China. Representing only 5% of the worlds’s population, America has 25% of the worlds inmates.” (Darling-Hammond)

Academic success must be linked with social emotional learning. Whole Child Education (character development, social emotional learning) asks us to look differently at the stresses of standardized tests and challenges us to look at the qualities of a successful school: behaviorally, socially and, of course, academically.

Whole Child education promotes a positive school climate that allows and encourages students and faculty to think creatively, deeply and passionately. It promotes a team atmosphere where the success of the individual is a shared endeavor and is as important as the success of the whole.

Whole Child education produces responsible and resourceful students that are willing and able to take on the challenges offered by their teachers, peers and families. It also produces teachers that feel supported and empowered by their administration.

By the nature of their populations, schools are social environments and human teaching for human learning is social and emotional. Research, which can be found at www.casel.org, proves that schools are most successful when they integrate the learners social, emotional and academic needs.

“Satisfying the social and emotional needs of students does more that prepare them to learn. It actually increases their capacity for learning. Social and emotional learning has been shown to increase mastery of subject material, motivation to learn, commitment to school and time devoted to schoolwork. It also improves attendance, graduation rates and prospects for constructive employment while at the same time reducing suspensions, expulsions and grade retention.” (Hawkins et al., 1999; Malecki and Elliott, 2002)

We must focus on the integration of academics with social emotional learning. Knowledge without character is a head without a heart. Human history is replete with examples of great intellect causing great damage because it lacked heart.


Raised in a family of educators, I believe that education is a life-long process and that we all teach best what we most need to learn. It is therefore imperative that we teach each other. My own unique life experiences have inspired, challenged and motivated me to specialize in the areas of self-esteem, wellness and student assistance programs.

As a parent of three special needs children labeled gifted, dyslexic and ‘profoundly retarded’, I have learned how to recognize, appreciate and admire the individual talents of my own children while addressing their special needs and gifts. My personal experiences of providing support, care and encouragement to my own children is not unlike what other parents and educators do on a daily basis.

I know that we cannot learn or succeed on our own. Therefore, I celebrate the importance of the school community in the development of each student and each parent. Through the work of Thom Stecher and Associates, I strive to refocus the educational community on what is important - each other.

To this end, I have dedicated my life to creating educationally-sound, motivating, engaging leadership opportunities for students, educators and parents based upon James Comer’s statement: There is no significant learning without significant relationships.

Together, we can build healthy communities where we grow as instruments for positive change.