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Showing posts from 2015

Best Xmas Gift Ever: Appreciation & Affirmation From A Former Student

Three days before Christmas this year, a direct message came through on my Facebook account. It was from a former student of mine from 12 years ago named Reed when I was concluding my last year as the Leadership Advisor at Buchanan High School.
I am sharing this with you below for a couple of reasons. One, as an educator, there is no better gift than a student, especially after time has passed, reaching out to you and acknowledging their educational experience. Two, his story is the ultimate affirmation for an educator. It’s not an affirmation about me as an educator, but what works in education. His story reminds us, in a very personal and detailed way, what matters in school. And that is that our mission is to help all students find a passion and purpose and then support them in pursuit of both.

Although this student likes to attribute his success and his unique journey to his experience with me, it’s really more about the work we were both involved in collaboratively for t…

Collaboration (Partnering) 2.0

There may not be a skill that is getting more attention than ever than COLLABORATION. Indeed, in Education, we use the word so much that it has sadly become cliche or jargon. However, that being said, it is and has been identified as the most important professional skill in the new economy (See Forbes Magazine). Matter of fact, one of the dominant reasons people often get fired is still related to an inability to work with others. I like the word collaboration, but preferred the word PARTNERING. Collaboration sounds like working with others, while partnering sounds like a long-term investment in a relationship that is mutually beneficial. So, if we can agree that partnering is crucial and essential. Let’s identify what it really looks and feels like in our educational environments and beyond. One, partnering first infers that we will work with our peers. Students need to partner with students, teachers need to partner with teachers and so on. And this partnering can extend well beyond …

Let's Pay Teachers $100,000 Per Year And Expect Transformative Work

I recently posed on Twitter, as well as FTF, my proposal to pay teachers $100,000 per year. Naturally, I got a mix of reactions mostly asking how, why and what for? Beyond figuring out the finances (which I admit is a daunting task), what would be the rationale(why) and the expectation(what for)? Well, here you go:
The Rationale

There has been a dramatic decline for years, each year now, in the numbers of people choosing to enter teacher credentialing programs and ultimately the teacher profession. As an example, enrollments in teacher preparation programs in CA have declined by 75 percent over the past decade – from 77,700 in 2001-02 to 19,933 in the 2012-13 school year, the last year for which figures are available ("New California Teaching Credentials Decline for 10th Successive Year." EdSource. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.). The reality is that too many young people, who are educated and career focused, are not seeing teaching as a viable career option - either financiall…

As The Edu Worlds Collide, It's Compliance/Control vs. Creativity/Innovation

The worlds are colliding. It’s more than old vs. new or low tech vs. high tech. It’s the clash of the mindsets, pedagogies, philosophies, systems, approaches, protocols and operations. I simply like to call it clash of the ATTITUDES.
That’s right. In the end, we do or don’t do something based on our attitudes. They come from a variety of places. But our general attitude towards how we approach the world or solve problems will dictate everything. When it comes to education, I think the divide can be seen on two simple sides. There is Compliance & Control on one side and Creativity & Innovation on the other. These are at odds.
Indeed, Harvard Professor Tony Wagner has said, “The culture of school is radically at odds with the culture of learning necessary for innovation.”
We have to decide what we want. And as usual, we can’t have it all. We all have to decide which side you want to live on and error on. For me, it’s simple. All good things that have happened to me in …

Evolutionary Education - 5 Things That Could Be Extinct Soon

It has often been uttered, that “only the fittest survive.” But when it comes to education, it seems things that might not even be that fit have continued to survive. However, just like in living species through time - dinosaurs, sabre tooth tigers and the wooly mammoth just to name a few - even things that have lived on for a long time eventually go extinct. So, with that in mind, it seems educational evolution is occurring too and extinction might be inevitable for a variety of standard educational pedagogy, tools and practices.
Textbooks/Single Source Curriculum: (this includes ebook textbooks too). Regardless of whether they are digital or not, depending on and surviving on one text as the foundational source of information and context - regardless of course, age group and purpose - seems almost prehistoric at this point. Information changes daily and resources are born every minute on line. Anyone doing serious academic work cann…