Thursday, November 17, 2016

Why Do We Believe

Words Cap Lee
Tune Buffy St Marie

Why do we believe          all the stories that we’re told
Why do we believe          All their lies
Why do we believe          Even though we know the truth
Why do we forever close our eyes

Why do we believe          black is white and bad is good
Why do we believe          When we must pay
Why do we believe          God is our guiding light
But He doesn’t really mean what he says

We’re the quintessential liar full of hate full of fear
We ask God to protect our mortal soul
We allow hate to those we love and love to those who hate
Don’t we know we are simply Satan’s tool

Why do we believe          Because it’s easier that way
Why do we believe          Because we must 
Why do we believe          Because we are weak with our fear
Our heart and soul is buried in the dust


Satan has escaped with our soul

click link for song

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Deep thinking is missing in politics

Education is a major issue in politics. Primarily this election was a White Lash getting back at a black president who was too uppity to suit the white right. If people were educated correctly, they would look deeper into what the problems really are.

Technology, not TPP or NAFTA are the culprits that eliminated industry jobs in this country and that’s not going to change ever. If educated, they would understand that there is an international shift from jobs tech can now do, to running the tech that does them.

If educated they would understand that the country is changing from an all white to diverse country, and that’s the way it is. And people aren’t horrible if their nationality is different.  We are all immigrants, the only difference was the Polish, Irish etc were all white.  Now the new immigrants aren't.

If educated, people would understand that being strong is sometimes being smart. What would you do if a terrorist leader was hiding among children and families? Would you bomb them anyway? And if they were your children, would you still bomb them?

Would you throw out immigrants here illegally just because they are breaking the law? Or would you recognize we have let them come in for close to 100 years and to throw them out would destroy our food industry as well as their families?

Would you give a speeding ticket to someone who broke that law 20 years ago? Most crimes have a statute of limitations.  If they aren't caught within 7 years, they can't be charged.  If we do this for criminals why can't we do it for those who help keep our food prices low and keep our food industry functioning?

These are all deep questions that many can’t answer because they aren't taught to think deeply.

Would you bomb Syria when they crossed the red line simply because it was a line, or would you realize that the vacancy would allow ISIS to take over the country and it would have Russia and Iran retaliating?

Would you ban all late term abortions if you knew a woman, having twins, with one already dead and the other with the brain outside his head and the mother possibly dying was dependent on it? Deep thinking.

And that same deep thinking would help realize that all people are different and all are the same. Not based on race or origin. And that if there are 11,000,000,immigrants here and 7 committed violent crimes that doesn’t make all immigrants bad. In fact they are probably better than the white peoples norm.

This is all about deep thinking when we are taught to depend on the teacher for the answer, they then depend on their favorite candidate for the answer.  

Do we call Hillary a liar when Politifact says Trump lies over 70% of the time and Hillary and Bernie 25%.  Tom Brady did not support or vote for Trump but he says it anyway because the vote was almost over when Tom's wife got on the news and discredited it.  And there never were people dancing in the streets in New Jersey when the twin towers came down.

Trump; 4% true; 11% mostly true; 15% half true; 19% mostly false; 34% false; 17% pants on fire

Hillary; 25% true; 26% mostly true; 24% half true; 14% mostly false; 10% false; 2% pants on fire

Summary  Trump 30% on true side;  70% on false side

                 Hillary 75.5% on true side;25.5 on false side

And Hillary is a criminal when she has never in her life been convicted of anything?  Of course we say "every one knows that she did wrong".  Which is a cheap way of saying she's guilty without her being guilty.  However Trump University comes up next so we will see who is really guilty.  Can you say "lock him up?"

And if someone read every e mail you sent over a 4 year period and still found nothing illegal, would you still say something was illegal?  And Trump wouldn't even release his taxes?  Why?

Just sayin’ If the people knew what would really help them, they might make wiser decisions rather than believing the line of crap politicians put out.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The farce of graduation rates

 "The four-year graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who graduate in four years or less with a regular high school diploma by the number of students form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class." My first concern is the issue of "on time" At what point does the importance of graduating in four years or less become the be all and end all of graduation.  If someone was sick for a year and graduated a little later are they now chopped liver?  If they develop at a slower rate should they give up and not complete in four and a half years because they don't count anymore? If a school pulls a kid out of the streets and gets them to graduate a little later are they a bad school?  Isn't graduation the issue?

They use a formula akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Why do we do a formula? Beause we simply don't count the actual kids and follow them through their school years. That would scare us to see the reality of how many kids are pushed out into the streets simply because they don't fit the mold, simply because they are not good test takers.  And we don't give schools credit who serve the kids that need us the most, the kids that might take a little longer to make it.  We only give credit to those schools who serve the most children of privilege.  The kids who are good test takers.

How could anyone not be a good test taker when they are hearded into a room, put under enormous pressure, to take a test that is meaningless to kids if for no other reason that returns to the school four months later.  Well after their plans are in place.  What a waste.  A test that supports those who are good with paper and pencil tasks.  And then we brag about it.

And what is graduation anyway?  I remember a young special needs girl who left my middle school, went to high school for three years, dropped out and still walked across the stage with a diploma.  I was at that graduation, saw her diploma and had talked to her sister, who raised her and was told how and when she dropped out.  Cheating is at an all time high, not by kids, but by administrators who find a way to manipulate the stats to make them look good.

They don't blame the artificial common core fiasco that pushed kids out of school for not being at the same place at the same time fitting into that tiny box full of word games and math riddles. We struggle to force kids away from an education into a "teach to the test" fiasco totally draining them of every ounce of their individuality while assuring that they are not able to engage in critical thinking and innovation.

One of the greatest complaints of Asian nations is that the US is providing the innovators and their education system does not succeed in that effort.  However, we still keep trying to force kids away from critical thinking, understanding how our government works, being able to use their hands to maintain their houses and cars, how to be entrepreneurs, and a long list of skill areas that are not allowed in schools anymore.  Do we not want any more leaders like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey?

Is it today's reality that the Nazi style of every one in lock step is the only way to succeed?  Are we following the advice of  Thomas Jefferson when he called the purpose of the education system, "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish"?  And now we call those seen as rubbish being pushed out of school and thrown into the streets at earlier and earlier ages. Yet we brag about those of privilege who make it to their senior year and forget those who don't fit the mold.

Their is nothing in the current statistics that indicates success of the outdated system and philosophy of education called common core.  Those who haven't dropped out are forced away from a real education designed to prepare them for their future in their world after the classroom.  And that is even worse than dropping out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Scapegoating unions for systemic problems?

Many believe that problems relating to the school system and especially the quality of teachers are squarely on the backs of the unions.  After all, unions protect bad teachers don't they? In a recent "letter to the editor" of Education Week, Richard Berman stated "America's national teachers unions - the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers - are notorious for protecting underwhelming teachers through generous tenure policies and last-in first-out firing procedures"  (Education Week, April 27 2016)

Although this may be the artificial consensus of many, it is essential that we take a deeper look at the process.  Having been a teacher and a school administrator, I have seen both sides of the issue.  My first thoughts are that if Principals would do there homework, they would be better able to hold teachers accountable.  The unions job, first and foremost is to assure an even playing field as well as insist on due process.

Of course scapegoating Principals would be another artificial quick fix.  Principals rarely have time to properly assess teachers not to mention provide needed support.  And without those two ingredients, neither the even playing field nor due process could be done effectively. By eliminating tenure, we simply eliminate due process.  And by eliminating last-in first-out simply allows a sneaky way to fire without due process.

But the question still remains, how do we provide teacher support as well as a thorough assessment to assure parents that their children are receiving the best education possible?  After retirement I served as a mentor and assessor for first year teachers.  I found my colleagues were of the highest integrity. Passionate about supporting quality teaching and just as passionate about keeping ineffective teachers out of schools.

The big difference between what we did and what Principals do now, is that we had the time to do an accurate assessment as well as provide a strong support system.  And when it came to due process, all of our ducks were in a row.  And that's what unions want, fairness.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Do we ask the right questions about school quality?

Several questions are often asked when determining the success of a school.

One of the questions that is asked is how many students graduated on time.  “On time” is the issue that forces most kids out of school.  And if the fundamental purpose of education is to assure students are prepared for the future, whether they do it on time, a month later or two months earlier should be irrelevant.

Consider this:  A student fails second grade.  Since that student’s chances of graduating on time are diminished, should he/she go home and forget third grade and beyond?  Of course that doesn’t happen but it does happen in ninth grade on a regular basis.  That is the number one reason for drop outs.

Also consider the reality that kids don’t get their teeth at the same time, they don’t start talking at the same time, they don’t start walking at the same time, they don’t recognize colors at the same time, but when they get into first grade they must be at the same time, at the same place in the text book, learning the same way, scoring the same on an artificial test and on and on.

2.     The second question often asked is "How many are proficient?"  Again proficient is based on everyone learning at the same rate.  If you are “proficient” 3 months later it doesn’t count as being proficient.

Everything has a deadline.  What if standards were guidelines for success rather than deadlines for failure.  What if we realized kids learn in different ways and at different rates?  And what if kids demonstrated learning for their assessment.  Rather than stating the scientific method, they demonstrated it through a science project for their assessment.

What is a good school and what is a bad school?  Under the current system, no one knows.  And a test score says nothing!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Seven questions to ask about Common Core

Seven questions to ask about Common Core

OK, so now it it seven questions :-)

Given that is not the nature of human beings to be at the same place at the same time academically and the range goes from sever cognitively disabled to highly academically skilled, are standards guidelines for success or deadlines for failure?  Are students punished for being at a different place or is failure a positive learning experience?

Given Dr. Howard Gardner’s proven Theory of Multiple Intelligences, does Common Core allow for each child to follow their pathway to successful achievement of proficiency?

Given Dr. Gardner’s theory, how does Common Core allow students to demonstrate learning in the way they do it best?

Given that kids’ ability to adapt to a setting varies as do kids’ attention span and other characteristics, how does Common Core allow for an assessment setting conducive for each child?

Given that assessment is only as good as the information gathered and its application to the education of the child, how does Common Core allow for immediate feedback to teachers?

Given that our culture is widely diverse, how do we assure standards are authentic to grade levels?

Given that standards must be guidelines for success, how do we show student progress throughout the year?

Let me be clear.  I support accountability and the effort to assure all children succeed.
To accomplish this Common Core must be changed forward.

Please respond if you have more questions relating to students.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Stupidity of School Competition and the Games They Play

Competition in education is probably the dumbest thing one can imagine.  How can that be said when competition makes businesses stronger and better and the wivets they make must out do the other companies in order to sell more and make the company thrive?  

The key words here are several:  First is “to make the company thrive”.  Does the “company” now become the greatest issue and the wivets, meaning the students become a lesser issue?  The biggest issue in business is to make a profit selling the product.  This means the cost of manufacturing the product must be less than the selling price.  In other words, the cheaper the cost, the better even if it means cutting corners.   And if a few of their products end up killing people, they can afford that.  It is cheaper to cut corners.  We see that in the auto industry on a regular basis.  Guess what?  We can’t recall kids.  Those who drafted the No Child Left Behind legislation obviously didn’t understand the “No Child” part because they left many behind.

The second on my most stupid list is the insane thought that competition makes for better students.  The real question becomes whose kids do you want to see fail?  Because if the “other” kids fail, then my kids are the best and we win the competition.  And to ensure that happens, we will covet our ideas so we can win.  If we come up with a great idea that works for kids, we will keep it to ourselves so that only our kids get smart.  Yes folks! That is what competition does.

But wait a minute.  What if we don’t have better ideas?  We still have to win, how can we do it?  How can we make our school look better?

Let the games begin.  We are well familiar with the scandals in recent years, erasing scores to make them better, but few realize the most effective of the games that are played by administrators.  As an administrator I have seen these games in the past and they have been played for years,undetected.
        The lottery:  This seems innocent enough but the problem is that those kids with readily available support systems apply leaving others behind.  And there is no telling what happens behind closed doors with the winners and losers.

2       Special needs kids:  Those who give excuses for not servicing the kids who need us the most are most likely to do the same for any kids who don’t fit there mold.  The goal is to cleanse the environment and get the highest scoring kids, while excluding the lowest scoring.
3      The artificial test:  Of course the best way to make your kids look best is to become good at teaching to the test.  This is improved through more sitting time to memorize what is needed.  What is not said is when you focus on that, you take kids away from the kind of hands on learning that is valuable when they enter the community.  Leaving school with artificial knowledge leaves kids unprepared for the world.  This is done to give the privileged a leg up as they have more resources to provide real education. But their test scores are good! And the pipeline to prison continues.

4       Raising the bar: This is a well-known trick.  Although many think it will make all kids smarter, what it really does is take those who are reaching for the bottom rung of the ladder and pushes them off, face first into the mud.  “Hey teacher, I think I will make it this time”.  Sorry kid we just raised the bar”.

5      Suspension:  Low scoring kids are suspended or given a time out on the day before the test so those scores don’t show up.  That’s easy to do with the anxiety that is caused by the test.

6       Push out:  The late Steve Orel from the World of Opportunity School termed the phrase “push out” for students excluded from school.  And there are many excuses to push kids out but where do they go?  They go to traditional public schools allowing the schools of privilege to point their fingers and say what bad schools the traditional schools are.  Remember, with competition, the goal is to make other kids look stupid to let your kids look good.

          Money:  And of course, money gets taken away from the schools that take the kids who need us the most.

8       Poverty isn’t destiny:  This is my favorite.  Actually to some extent they are right.  Those kids in poverty that have a strong support system might actually do well.  It’s the effects of poverty that are of concern.  Most kids in poverty have childhood stress and other issues that, under the current 18th century system of education is destiny.  Here is how it is played.  The school leaders say “we have all poverty kids and they all graduated and went to college.”  However they don’t say which poverty kids they have.  Are they those who have the strong support systems or the ones who are struggling?  They depend on the rest of the world adhering to the racist belief that all poor black children are the same, blossom at the same time and are struggling and the school miraculously steps in and saves them while they skim the most successful off the top.  I might add that another Favorite of mine is “my kids come from single parent families and they all graduated”, thus insulting some great single parents out there who work their butts off to take care of their kids, and there are many.

     And they all graduated:  One of my middle school kids went to high school where she dropped out after three years.  I went to graduation and low and behold she walks across the stage.  Get the drift?
     And the games go on!      

     In a recent interview on CNN the interviewer asked why the charter schools and the traditional public schools don’t get together.  That’s simple, they are competitors. Can you imagine what collaboration would do?  And for solutions?  Sorry guys, you'll have to read my book.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Education assessment must begin now in Flint Michigan

The crises in Flint Michigan, has endangered many of their residence.  Of significant importance is the potential for damage to the children.  Of course we do not know how many children have been damaged nor do we know the extent of the damage.  However, we cannot afford to wait to provide needed services supported by educational assessment to all children. 

The type of assessment needed is a wide range multi-disciplinary assessment beginning with a small one on one test or tests that cover a wide range of cognitive skills.  Of significant importance is that this information is immediately available to the classroom teacher. It is extremely importance that the tests are small and they are given one on one to assure the most accurate results and that these are pre and post-tests to monitor progress.

This information to the teacher will allow that teacher to understand where to begin the process of education, a jumping off point.  From there ongoing classroom assessments would be available to assure progress is being made.  These assessments include anecdotal notes, portfolio assessments, demonstration of learning, self-assessments as well as progress on achieving learning goals.

Assessments are not only for academics.  We must also look for developmental milestones as well as adaptive behavior, especially in children 0-5 years old. Information provided by the parent, those in the community as well as classrooms are all significant.  No additional tests in the classroom are necessary and should be avoided in lieu of first class, hands on achievement.  This will allow parents of children in Flint Michigan to have the comfort of knowing exactly where their children stand.

Along with this ongoing assessment, services must be provided where needed.  These services must be immediate to reduce the effects of the poison their children have been drinking.  Remember, there is the possibility that some or all of the children might not be affected.  However, it is essential that we not wait until it is too late to tackle the situation.  We must assure the safety and education of every child.

For those determined to have educational, social or emotional needs, there must be immediate action.  And that action must be based solely on the needs of the children.  To label kids as special education or any other obsolete label would take the focus off specific needs putting them in a broad category that would be devastating to parents and children alike.  Again, this doesn’t mean we don’t focus on the needs of each child.  It just means we throw out harmful labels.  Although funding is often connected to labels, under these conditions funding should be connected to the needs that are determined.  Of course this should apply to all kids but for now we focus on those in Flint Michigan.

The result of the assessments and classroom progress must be monitored through a document I call the MAP, My Action Plan.  This MAP will drive every child on their pathway to success while assuring that all receive the services they need.

Again at this time we do not know the effect of the poison on the children.  But we do know there could be a massive affect.  The time for action is now! As I grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University, this strike at my heart.

For more information go to and click on my blog.