02/25/2011 02:37 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2011

Making A Real Difference In Public Education

Marc Rosenbaum enjoyed a successful career as a dentist, but remained unfulfilled.

As he thought back to his childhood, he realized he was taught many things in school -- math, reading, history -- but was never taught, whether at home or in the classroom, how to be a compassionate person.

"I never really learned how to be a loving person. And it wasn't demonstrated around me. I saw how it affected me and so I started to explore it."

He was left wondering why he couldn't have learned these basic principles earlier in life, and why children were raised without a solid curriculum in interpersonal communication skills and emotional intelligence.

"I asked myself: why couldn't I learn the principles of how to communicate better? The principles of how to take responsibility for my actions, as a teenager, or even younger?"

Dr. Rosenbaum began his exploration as a 26-year-old, taking courses and spending many years pursuing information on "just being a better human being," he said.

He earned a Master's degree in psychology, studied with innovators in the human potential movement, and sold his dental practice to embark on what he calls "a path to talk to children and help teach them interpersonal intelligence and social-emotional learning."

Dr. Rosenbaum begain his work in Calif. public schools and soon realized how powerful his programs could be.

"I began to realize what it would be like if public education could teach people to make conscious choices, to listen and communicate. I realized what a difference in could make in larger society."

But he also realized that his training couldn't stop at children.

"When they went home, often it was to an environment that didn't support what we were teaching, so that led me to start working with parents and teachers," he said.

By 1995, he developed his comprehensive Education for Excellence curriculum to teach children, teachers and parents how to develop and teach his social and emotional curriculum.

Over the last 17 years, his programs have influenced the lives of over 4,000 public schools parents, teachers and students.

Currently, they are focused on their Train the Trainer program, equipping facilitators within schools to teach the curriculum to parents.

For Marc, his courses provide a much-needed service that is often lacking in the public education system.

"Rich and middle class people can always go to a psychologist," he said. "People in public education can't always do that so it's providing an opportunity for people who need this work as much as anyone else but don't have the opportunity for that."

While he says these days people are more receptive to his programs, unfortunately the money to provide such program is increasingly limited with the recent and upcoming budget cuts to public education spending.

"There's a lot more acceptance now, but also a lot less money. We'll continue to do our best to spread the word and provide these services."