I tell the parents, "that kid belongs to you. He doesn't belong to the state or the school, he's your kid. So you have to help me out to raise this kid. To ask him what he has to do. We always have homework and assignments. It's your responsibility, otherwise I'm not going to be able to do anything with your kid, because school alone cannot educate."

GT: What can teachers do to help prepare their students for the future?

Terminology is the killer. You walk into the classroom and you say "ax+by is to c when x and y are variables and a, b and c are constants" that makes it difficult for those students to assimilate, especially when they are ninth or tenth graders. and the student says, "no, I don't want to do that." and the teacher does not introduce the concepts gradually, or use the words with which the kids are familiar.

That's why I use basketball. You cannot divide by zero that's illegal defense. "Facemask" means the kids has to start the problem again step by step. The ball has to go back 10 yards and begin again. And the kid gets familiar with that.

In biology, you should say this root, whether it's Greek or Latin, whatever. If you just ask him to memorize, that's not a word. Get the concept first, just like when you play basketball. I say, "focus, concentrate, get a picture, and you get a concept." That's what I'm trying to teach.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government