November 18-22 will mark the 87th annual observance of American Education Week. Our AEW tagline, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools.

Today's teachers do more than teach basic skills. They nurture and inspire children despite obstacles. They help students learn essential skills not always measured in testing, such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, cooperation and problem-solving, which help students throughout life.

However, you and I know that no school is without problems. There is always something needing improvement. That's why we have a mentoring program, where good experienced teachers help new teachers.

Parents, I invite you to visit your child's classroom and learn for yourself how you and the teacher can work together. If you do not have children, please consider visiting your nearest public school and see today's educators in action. Ask how you can contribute to a child's success. We'll be glad to advise.

Thank you for taking time to read this letter. We are proud to make a difference in the lives of the students we teach.

Dawn Wiebers

Madison Education Assn.

Madison, Nov. 13