Sunday, January 23, 2005

Cold in the Ozarks Again

It is down about 10 degrees right now and warming up to 20? What a morning to have a flat tire. But I managed. In an earlier posting, I mused about moving to Missouri from California. Why the move at the ripe old age of 45 you ask? Well - the powers that be tore down the Little League Stadium to build apartments! That's right! Demolished the ballpark! Progress is really horrible when it happens in your "hood". I see on the net this morning, that the "hood" elementary school is on the block for closing. Benjamin Corey closing. So much for the memories of Sissy, Jim and Tim and me. "Trace" is on the block for closing also, along with "Hester". Guess the folks in the old "hood" have grown old, like me, and the kids are out having kids. Whoops - the kids of the kids are having kids! Sheesh! Skipped a generation for a second.

Our State decided to lower the bar for meeting the requirements of NCLB. Chickens! They have been running like jack rabbits for a decade now trying to "improve". The powers that be have not figured it out at this point, so instead of applying more pressure by letting folks fail - we lower the bar. Like Little League. Used to be you had to have skills to play. Now you get to play just by showing up and saying I want to play. Good and bad in ways. It remains to be seen if the educational establishment has the hair to truly change and improve.

The cat is secure and getting warmer.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Out of the Cold and Frozen Ozarks - Part 2

Darn it is cold again! Getting old - hard to breath in the sub-freezing weather. It is nice to have a holiday. I needed it. Last week was busy and sort of a bumpy ride. Won a war on one front and lost a battle on another front. Momma Bear is happy however. An extra day at home from the nursing home. She wants to come home, but it is probably not safe for her.

Putting in my little digs on the local sports scene. The local college coach is a joke. Should have been a preacher like his father. Would not say a bad word if he had a mouth full of them. He is a firm seller of the idea of believing in something you have never seen before. In some areas that is ok - not in Division 1 basketball.

Well, we got the go from the Superintendent to for the DVS. A District Virtual School. We have a group of folks across all buildings in the District who are being put together to make a run at improving our test scores. We think that we can do this over a period of three years to four years. It will be interesting. I think, we are going to be sold down the river in the long run. It does not fit the "we are poor and need more money" philosophy of Education that is currently in style. If we were successful, then, oh my gosh, we might have to work hard all the time! Can't have that! Of course, hope that I am wrong. I'm a glass half empty kind of guy.

The cat is secure (and warm)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Out of the Cold and Frozen Ozarks

It is cold - again! This rain and flooding and now ice is making life difficult. Took twice the time to drive home last night.

On the home front, USC won the football game in grand fashion. Were the Trojans that good or Oklahoma that bad? Oklahoma lost because they were out coached. USC was ready to play and perform at a high level and the Sooners were not. There is a lesson here for Education. By the way, Momma Bear has already blasted me for the win. Looks like the weather is not the only thing that will be cold. She firmly believes that the best defense is a good offense.

As to what Education can learn from the game, consider this. Last year when USC suffered the same fate as Auburn, there was not a big boo-hoo from the Southern Cal players or coaches. They won the AP poll and thanked everyone. This year they put their collective heads down and went to work and won it all. The rules of the engagement were the rules. They won following them. It is sad that our educators cannot do the same thing. They need to get off their duffs, get to work and give it their best shot. Change what needs to be changed and vice-versa. If a student is not performing to par then say so to both parents and student. Not mean - just a "You passed but I know you can do better". If someone needs to be suspended then do it. If someone needs help then teach them to help themselves. There is nothing magical about this. Every student has something they are really good at. Help them find it. Along the way there are certain things that need to be done. It is like putting out the garbage, paying the bills and getting along with your neighbors and co-workers. Some are really good at all of them and some are only good at some of them and some cannot do any of them well. It is easy to know what you do well and very difficult to know what you do not do well and make allowances for it. It is particularly hard when the people you spend a great part of your formative years with do not "teach" you to deal with these issues. (This includes parents) There is no excuse for a lack of basic understanding and competency in English, Math, Science and Social Science. If it takes 12 years to get the basics then that is what it takes. We need to have an educational 9/11! A political Saturday Night Massacre! We are losing our kids.

The cat is secure (and warm) !

Monday, January 03, 2005

Blue Monday

Oh Blue Monday! The first workday of the New Year. Arrrrrrrggggghhhh!

Flat tire yesterday. Now a trip to the tire shop. Bummer. Students still out of school, however the staff is in for a "Staff Training" day. I have more work to do then I have the time to get it done. The Network looks like what the cat dragged in after the dog threw it out.

Some interesting articles about educational cheating on standardized tests from Arizona and Indiana newspapers yesterday. California chimed in with an article in the L.A. Times about the High School exit exam due up in 2006. This is a postponement from previous years. That is how it works in Education. The public raises their voice and demands some accountability. The Education establishment passes new rules and says "see - we listen"! The the rules are postponed, changed, watered down and pretty soon they go away. Ever feel like your being ignored children?

The cat is secure

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005 - Day One

The New Year is here. Seems like a Sunday rather then Saturday. Let us hope that the news gets better then what we have now.

Watched a bit of the Rose Bowl parade this a.m. and it brought back the memories. January 1, 1967 and January 1, 1968. It is great when your school is playing in the bowl and you spend the last day of the year hanging out in Pasadena watching the floats being built. I must say we watched a few other things also. That of course was if we could keep our eyes open.

Not much in the news on the Education front. Jay Matthews of the Washington Post has an article up about AP and IB classes. Did not see much from him this year about the Teachers Union debacle or the impact of a billion dollar baseball stadium on what has been called the worst school district in the nation.

On the home education front, we are getting geared up for the formation of our District Virtual School. It is going to be difficult to implement and the stakes are going to be high. Many in our staff are still in denial. Meeting NCLB standards is a problem that is going to be taken care of by someone else. You know, they just may be right. The "old guard" educators that I know say that they have been through so many reform movements that they have lost count. It is three steps forward and then two quick steps back. The "bottom line" is that schools will not be allowed to fail. The will walk up to the abyss and look in - but they will not fail. The standards and/or rules will be changed so that failure is not widespread. Most states are doing that right now. Standards are going down in terms of state rules. Only the NCLB rules are holding firm to a point. Still a lot of pushing and shoving in the Special Education area. That will be a real tough nut to crack. The old saying from the intelligence community ( an oxymoron?) applies. "I could tell you that, but then I would have to kill you". The most secretive and clannish group ever. Talk about "tribal territories".

My thought for today is a reputed quote from Winston Churchill. "A man who is not liberal when he is young and conservative when he is old - is a man that is not to be trusted"

The cat is secure

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