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For-learning schools

For-profit schools vs. For-learning schools

I hear a lot of banter about how profits are bad, people who earn them are bad. Wait what?!

Bill of the world's most prolific philanthropists, has made A LOT of profit by creating something that a lot of people needed/could use and presenting it in an arguable user-friendly way. He made profit, which allowed him to grow, make more profit, retire, and give it all away.

Profits allow us, the public, to play a role in the firing of people/services that we don't like, or to vote with our feet. Don't like those shoes, don't go back to that store. Disappointed with the Windows OS, buy an Apple.

So what about government services? What's their incentive to provide excellent service? Profits? No.

Back to the question...what incentive do government agencies have to give a superior product. They can't fired. They have no competition. So your telling me that they do it out of the goodness of their hearts? While the gr…
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An open letter to Arizona Teachers United

RE: The narrative

For decades we've languished like a sick patient in recovery, or wounded in triage. Doing more and more with less and less. In Rick DuFour's book, In Praise of American Educators and How They Can Get Even Better, he points to credible evidence that stacks up nicely, nearly proving this point.

American teachers have never been better. Ever. So why isn't the general public more actionable & supportive. I mean we get the nod, the praise, the lip service, which is nice.

Comparatively speaking, our professional counterparts have what we need.

Collective bargaining power - united they approach the communities they serve and participate as a unit to ensure fiscal and operational viability.Tools they need - every officer, paramedic, and firefighter has what they need to do their job. The community never balks at making sure this is the case. Fiscal agreements - first responders know how much they're going to make, …

Prayer for an Educator

It's rare to sit in the staff lounge for the 30 minute lunch break we get and be able to reflect on one's career.

Today was one such day...causing a flood of memories.  I offer this prayer for educators
May you have protection when you do the home visit on the little girl who's father beat her with a 2x4 for getting a C.  May you have wisdom when consoling the teacher who gave her the C.
Go with courage to sit next to the little girl who all alone weeps at the lunch table because she has lice. Teach her mother with tenderness.
Be vigilant when the little boy describes the cigarette burn on his eye given him by his mother because he complained he was hungry.
Hold fast at the 9 o'clock hour, still at school prepping for another day, while your own children go to sleep not having seen you all day.
Have wisdom when all at home is falling down around you - and you know the children at school need you now more than ever.
Be with joy when the 35th student walks in your classroom.  Y…

Catching Fire - 3.5 Strategies to Keep the Odds Ever in Your Favor this Hiring Season

In case you're not paying......attention, the third of four Hunger Games movies came out over the holiday season to great acclaim. As we've turned the corner in the school year, two things are on the minds of school leaders.

AssessmentTalent acquisitionAs was reported earlier, over 250 teacher openings have haunted charter and district schools in Maricopa County for the 2014-15 year.  250.
That's. A. Lot. of open spots. Teachers have the pick of the litter. Closer to home? More $? Leadership? Those are all factors. How do organizations compete for the best and brightest?
3.5 strategies to keep the odds ever in your favorAssess your organizational strengths by asking your stakeholders what you're good at. Whatever they say, brand it and sell it.Think advantage rather than deficit. We're a small district = we're offering a family atmosphere. We're a large district = no matter your interest in teaching, we've got a place for you. Our schools aren't perfor…

1.5 Reasons to Take a Different Path - The Hippy-Cow Way

The Hippy-Cow WayI remember early in my career asking a question something like, "Why don't we try [insert idea here]?"  And the quick reply, "Because this is the way we've always done it."

Yeah.  The age-old rut that can trap us all. Frustrating isn't it?

As a child growing up in the Aspen Valley, I remember traveling many miles along Highway 82.  Glenwood to Carbondale, then to Basalt, and on to Aspen.  Two lanes most of the way, it was and is the main route connecting all of these Rocky  Mountain towns.  The drive can be breath-taking in the Fall. And most take this route because, well, it's the route we always take. It's familiar. Safe. Known. Well traveled. You get the idea.

There are other ways to get where you're going. Roads less traveled that hold great sites and great reward. One of my favorites is the Hippy-Cow Way. Known only to our family by this takes you down valley the other side of the Roaring Fork River, and winds al…

The Merits of Arizona's New Standardized Test - Principles of Principals

On November 3, 2014, behind the distractions of the mid-term elections; the Arizona State Board of Education approved the RFP from SAGE Testing Company for full implementation of the AzMERIT for Spring 2015.

If you're a parent, student, or employed in education you need to know some things about this test.

In it's entirety, the test is computer based.  Instead of asking your child to select the correct graph from a menu of choices, they will be asked to create a graphic representation on their own.

Admittedly, it's a much DEEPER look into applied knowledge.  

Utah took the test last school year with startling results.  Less than half tested proficient.

Less than half.

Either it's a distilled look at UT children's abilities, or the results are skewed by rapid implementation of new standards, new measures of accountability, and new testing protocols.

Is Arizona ready?

District's who were preparing, have had a minor shift in preparation towards the new test. They will see…

2.5 Solutions for Superintendents - Principles of Principals

Hier semain, we addressed three point five solutions for school boards that would help sustain meaningful reform.  Today, we tackle the school executive, the superintendent.
The school superintendent.  All at once the educational ambassador to the community, and the policy advocate to the stakeholders.  It's a tenuous post, often held only for a short time - but all the same, quite influential.  While the $ is contextually high, and by that I mean higher than a principal, yet considerably lower for job a-likes in the private sector, the average 2.5 year stay impedes sustainable reform.  Sup's have narrow windows of opportunity.
They say that all a superintendent needs is a majority board, and they get to keep their jobs.  Bullocks.  What a red herring.  A very loathsome way to regard the role of an educational executive.  And yet, private sector executives face the same conditions.  Just ask me.  I'll tell you.  But perhaps some other time.
Besides the archaic board majority,…