Volume 35, Issue 2 (2006)
Are We Solving the Big Problems?
Edward S. Shapiro
In 2000, as part of an invited symposium celebrating the start of the new millennium, I was asked to write an article for School Psychology Review in which I tried to look ahead to where the field of school psychology needed to focus its energy in addressing the academic skills problems of children in schools (Shapiro, 2000). The article noted that despite the best efforts of educators, including school psychologists, the very large problems of illiteracy, poor levels of performance in math and science, and development of an educated workforce remain overwhelming concerns in our country. Methods to address these“big” problems lie primarily in the area of prevention science. School psychology’s energies have often been devoted to the “little”problems at the level of individuals. Our belief had been that we could attack the big problems one smaller problem at a time. My view as expressed in the article was that the time had come for our field to look for ways to build the competence and resilience of children that prevent the development of these big problems.Further, I pointed out that such efforts had been ongoing already in multiple, nationally funded projects and that school psychology as a field needed to shift toward recognition of the importance of systemic change in both training and practice. I firmly believed at that time that the future of our field was dependent on such a shift. I continue to believe that shifting to systemic ways of thinking are critical to our future, and the present miniseries certainly offers a window into that future.
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