Category Archives: Education

Seditious thoughts about New Mexico and US education

So, here are some seditious thoughts about New Mexico (and American) education.

If our objective had been all along to educate ALL children so they could achieve in life, we probably would have done so.

We would have found ways to support underserved children so they would catch up and keep up from the get-go

We would have checked with our children to discover and deliver information they could get interested in that would, again, prepare them to achieve their desires in their lives.

We would have delivered kids to community colleges and universities education-ready – we would have continuously paid attention to any shortfalls that occurred and explored ways to overcome them – on the fly if necessary.

We would use metrics, evaluations, etc., to improve what was being delivered to our children by the educational system – rather than emphasizing how well OUR school/system was doing relative to THEIR school/system for either bragging rights or protection from unions, parents, legislators and politicians.

We would have focused on preparing kids for life rather than trying to prove which new silver bullet (curriculum, text book, administrative re-structuring, legislative/ political posturing…) was working better than the other guy’s new silver bullet.

We would be paying more attention to the kids’ and parents’ needs than to our systems and administrative procedures and educational professional jargon.

As opposed to THIS WAY of societal thinking:

The law says you’ve got to be in school so the principal and teachers have to take care of you whether either they or you like it. So go to school!

It’s important that you have a place where you have to be so your parents can do whatever it is that they do without worrying about where you are or what you are doing.

Besides, most of US don’t have kids around any more, but we still have to keep paying our taxes so people that still have kids have somewhere to send them to keep them off our streets.

Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe not. It’s up to you. Take it or take it – your choice (?)

And hey, if you don’t learn anything and drop out, no problem. That’s what we pay the police for and why we have some homeless shelters, jails and prisons scattered around.

Seditious Tom

The Plot Against Education (Politico October 6, 2014)

The Plot Against Public Education                                                          (Politico October 6, 2014)

This article is an adapted excerpt from Bob Hebert’s new book Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America (Doubleday), out Oct. 7. 

In the article Bob Herbert provides details on Bill Gates $2 billion, 9-year failed small-school initiative, charter schools leaving behind the most disadvantaged children, the 2000 K12 Incorporated ‘virtual schools’ venture (Goldman Sachs banker Ronald Packard, junk-bond king Michael Milken, Oracle founder-billionaire Larry Ellison, Secretary of Education and Drug Czar William Bennett – results – math, reading, graduation poor; attrition high), Pearson’s enormous influence in Texas politics, and the Bloomberg-Klein failed reforms of the New York City school system.

You can access the full article here.

The two final paragraphs sum up his findings:

“The amount of money in play [in American education] is breathtaking. And the fiascos it has wrought put a spotlight on America’s class divide and the damage that members of the elite, with their money and their power and their often misguided but unshakable belief in their talents and their virtue, are inflicting on the less financially fortunate.

Those who are genuinely interested in improving the quality of education for all American youngsters are faced with two fundamental questions: First, how long can school systems continue to pursue market-based reforms that have failed year after demoralizing year to improve the education of the nation’s most disadvantaged children? And second, why should a small group of America’s richest individuals, families, and foundations be allowed to     exercise such overwhelming—and often such toxic—influence over the ways in which public school students are taught?”


Students Who Turn in Work at the Last Minute Get Worse Grades

Turns out there’s a cost to procrastinating

Procrastinators, you’ve been warned — a new study suggests that students who turn in homework at the last minute get worse grades.

Two professors at the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom report that submitting assignments just before they’re due corresponded with, at worst, a five-percent drop in grades.

Researchers David Arnott and Scott Dacko looked at the final assignments from 504 first-year students and 273 third-year students in marketing classes in the U.K., where papers are graded by marks out of 100.

Of the 777 students involved, 86.1 percent waited until the last 24 hours to turn in work, earning an average score of 64.04, compared to early submitters’ average of 64.32 — roughly equivalent to a ‘B’ grade.

But the average score for the most part continued to drop by the hour, and those who turned in the assignment at the last minute had the lowest average grade of around 59, or around a C+.

The researchers, who presented the paper at the European Marketing Academy conference, hope their data could lead more schools to identify chronic procrastinators early, in hopes of intervening and providing support and resources for breaking the habit.

Nolan Feeney in TIME Sept. 14, 2014  –   @NolanFeeney

TED Talk – 11 minutes on how to make mistakes in education

This 11 minute TED talk provides a quick review of where education has come from two generations ago to where the world is now – and the opportunity to shift from “the teacher has the information you need to know” to “here’s something I challenge you to learn about and report back upon – mistakes are totally OK and will be thoroughly discussed and learned from.”

Support for those that are doing and supporting this approach.

Encouragement to those that are not to take a close look.

Some thoughts on Community Schools Coordinators

A student exists in a classroom with a teacher, in a school with a number of classrooms and teachers and with a principal overseeing the operation.

The surrounding community has a plethora, a legion, of programs and resources that can be made available to support that student, that teacher, that principal, and that student’s family.

The teacher and principal too often do not have time to effectively seek out and link that student to all the appropriate supports and services available.

So who suffers?

The student, for sure. But also, the family. The teacher. The classroom. The principal. The school district. The neighborhood. The city. Businesses. All the taxpayers. Society at large

The unique role of a Community School Coordinator is to build bridges between that student and the appropriate organizations and services that can support that student and their family in breaking a cycle and succeeding in school and in life.

The unique role of ABC Community School Partnership is to create Community School Coordinator/Principal partnerships at individual schools amenable to the concept, and to sustain a community-wide viewpoint for organizing, energizing, and proliferating, collaborative efforts to support individual students and their families in their school setting

The mindmap below is a schematic of what this is and how it works. Notice that, without a Community School Coordinator, the full burden of seeking and organizing appropriate resources and programs for individual students and families falls on the shoulders of already very busy teachers and principalsCommunity Schools Mindmap


Update on Common Core Standards

Common Core standards were designed by state officials as a way to make sure that students in, say, Montana are learning the same level as their counterparts in Maine.

New Things shake people up, as do all “changes” of any type. Common Core is a “New Thing,” therefore it shakes folks up.

It is not:

  • a federal curriculum
  • a cultural warfare tool to brainwash children
  • anti-Christian
  • anti-capitalist
  • anti-American
  • a “failed program” – it’s way to new to declare that yet

Some states, like Indiana, changed the name to “Hoosier State Standards” while leaving everything else virtually identical to Common Core Standards.

The idea behind Common Core tracks back to, and was supported by, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

The hope of supporters is that Common Core states will be able to measure whether their students have the skills they need in an increasingly mobile and globalizing economy. As of 2012, at least 20% of college freshmen in the U.S. had to take remedial courses that not only derails many students’ journey to a diploma, but also costs taxpayers an estimated $2.5 billion a year in financial aid.

Time Magazine article can be read by clicking  here.

You can view a Prezi presentation of New Mexico Common Core State Standards by clicking  here.

Check out this new PTA/PTO assistance/organizer for any device

This new free app is designed to support PTO/PTA organizations, parents, and school teachers and administrators. This is what it’s website says:

Blissfully Easy and Quick to Set Up
and Manage


Sounds like it could be quite useful. To go their website, click  here.