A Thin Line Between Determination And Insanity

Determination: Firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein)

It is no secret that leaders in education have been using the same methods of reform, year after year, in state after state, achieving the same results, the failure of our children to thrive educationally. Everyone agrees that our current system of education is woefully insufficient. There is no doubt but that we must reform education so that it concentrates on the child and not the cost.

If one were to believe that the decisions of those who have been leading education down a failing road for decades, were made with the best of intentions, then we must concede, that they were determined to try every possible way to make their system of education work. It doesn’t. Enough data has been gathered to support initiating an entirely new way of educating our children.

The business model currently driving education policy and law, approaching education from a production perspective, sees our children as widgets, waiting to be molded into whatever part society needs at the time of their graduation. When the system isn’t working properly, adjustments are made to the machine with little effort made to determine why it is not working.

It is time to recognize that the problem is the machine, not the way it works.

Children are not lumps of clay waiting to be molded into our best guess for what they should be. Their perspectives and beliefs are formed by their interactions and experiences with their environment.

Reforming education means understanding that children, our greatest resource, deserve to be exposed to positive, enriching experiences with positive engaging adults to guide them as they investigate all the options life has to offer so that the individual can choose a career which best suits their passion.

The current failing system of education has been in effect for decades. We have tried every imaginable way to make it work, it doesn’t. To continue forcing its use is insanity.

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Get To Know Me

Before talking about how education can bridge the gap between privileged children and children of poverty we must understand the children and the culture of poverty. Education is not meeting the needs of the children of poverty because it sees these children as lacking intelligence when they enter school without the social and educational constructs of the well to do.

Our system of education immediately destroys any positive relationship that should be formed between the family and the school system by discounting the intelligence of the child and making the family and the child of poverty feel threatened.

The effects of poverty on education has nothing to do with food or clothing or being able to afford pencils and book bags. The effects of poverty on education are prejudice and lack of opportunity.

Children of poverty don’t live in fancy houses, but the walls they build to protect themselves from the hate and discontent of their environment are higher and stronger than any mansion.

Children of poverty don’t have the opportunity to express themselves freely because in their environment one has to “go along to get along” and divergence from the group could get you killed, not merely shunned.

When children of poverty enter school, their survival skills tell them, be quiet, don’t bother anyone, don’t talk to strangers, don’t trust anyone.

Children of poverty survive their environment very well, much better than those who have never lived in poverty can understand. However, what these children lack are the rich experiences of life that inspire them to reach beyond their fear of the unknown and explore the world.

For the child of poverty each school day should bring a new, positive, enriching experience that strengthens their resolve, not their wall. Education should ease their fears allowing them to freely express their opinions and ideas and trust others.

Education reform means understanding that the impoverished child is intelligent, and eager to learn.

Reforming education means reforming the attitudes of education toward the child of poverty. The only thing they lack is a proper education.

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Unite And Overcome The Divide And Conquer Tactic

In reviewing the district’s facilities modernization plan, only three elementary schools, #’s 17, 50, and 58, are currently under construction, leaving the fate of nine elementary schools in the hands of the communities in which these schools exist.

Right now, there is no allegiance to the neighborhood school because of the number of children that are bused to schools outside of their neighborhood. It is natural for the parent and the child’s allegiance to be with the school the child attends. This makes it nearly impossible to rally the neighborhood to protest decisions made for the schools in that neighborhood. Once parents are home, attending a meeting about a school their child does not attend is most likely, out of the question.

Conversely, with the school as the hub of the neighborhood, the news that is disseminated throughout the school now goes out to the neighborhood in a web-like fashion and reaction to any proposed plans can be carefully considered by the community in which the schools reside. With that careful consideration can come the decision to either accept or reject the plan while offering an alternate plan for collaboration. The result should be a plan that satisfies both the community and the district.

On December 6, 2012, at Central Office, a public meeting will be held at 6:30 PM to introduce the Facilities Modernization Plan. The Rochester community concerned with the course of our district must attend and suspend any action on this plan until the district has sought out relevant, researched based plans from the community.

We must no longer be told how our district will look, we must work together and collaborate on what we, the entire community, the citizens of Rochester, want for our district and our children.

Yes, we have elected leaders to make decisions, but those decisions must be made with us not in spite of us. It is the tax dollars of the community that support our schools and it is the community who should determine how those tax dollars are utilized.

Our children, our schools, our community, our voice.

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The Question Please

There is currently no question but that Arne Duncan should be removed as U.S. Secretary of Education. The question being asked is, “By whom? The answer is easy, “No one.”

It doesn’t matter who fills a position that has shown no significant contribution to furthering the true reform of education since its beginning in 1979. This country has existed in educational failure for decades, faltering in one discipline or another, demanding more and more money with less and less accountability.

We have blamed students, parents, teachers, and unions. We now blame lead, ADHD, and Autism. This is not to say that those circumstances are not important to the proper education of the child, however, they are more important to the profit in mis-educating the child.

Changing the person who runs the machine that is grinding away our children’s future is useless. It is time to stop the machine. It is time to realize that the machine is making parts for itself out of our children.

We are, and have been, in educational failure because it is profitable. It is profitable because we are being led down consumer road by following the unattainable carrot, the driving force of the machine.

So, the question is not who will hold the stick that motivates the consumer, to run the machine, who does not realize that the journey is endless and littered with the educational lives of our children, our future;

the question is not how we break a machine whose only moving part is us, we simply stop following the carrot;

the question is, what do we do without the machine to move us?

In which direction do we go?

That is when we learn to follow our heart, do what makes sense, and listen to the truth. That is the power of our form of government we can only be united when we are truly free.

Stop “Waiting for Superman” and break free of the “Matrix” our children deserve our leadership. The question is, are we ready to be leaders or are we content with being led?

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Can You Hear Us Now

The Southwest neighbors went to meetings. They listened as Superintendent Vargas explained his plan for the schools in their neighborhood. They discussed this plan at their neighborhood meetings where they also discussed how they wanted their neighborhood and schools to look.

They notified the proper authorities and went through the proper channels. They followed the protocol and drafted the language of their proposal for the schools in their neighborhood.

This is the democratic process of our system of government. The people speak and those elected to the various public positions, listen.

There is a meeting scheduled for December 6, 2012, from 6PM until 9PM at the RCSD Central Office Building.

This event involves every citizen of Rochester, not just those who live in the 19th Ward. The citizens of the 19th Ward community have done everything they were supposed to do to be heard by our elected officials. Every citizen of Rochester should be interested to know whether or not the “Voices of the Southwest Quadrant” will be heard.

If they are heard then the Superintendent and the School Board will have to drastically change their vision and plans for the schools in that area to comply with the vision and plans of the citizens who live in that neighborhood. After that, other communities can begin to construct their visions, their plans, for their neighborhoods and present them to the Superintendent and School Board, not for consideration, but for collaboration.

If the community is not heard by the Superintendent and the School Board and they continue with their plans, all of the citizens of Rochester will have learned that the individuals elected to speak with the voice of the people are not interested in fulling their duties as electorates and should therefore be replaced in the next election.

When neighbors work together they succeed in creating the type of communities in which they want to live. Communities working together will succeed in creating the type of city in which we want live.

We can all work together to create the world in which we want our children to live.

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What’s In A Word

Child: A son or daughter of human parents.

Niche: A place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted; The ecological role of an organism in a community.

Career: A profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling

Kid: A young goat: A young individual of various animals related to the goat.

Job: A piece of work: A small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate: The object or material on which work is being done: Something produced by or as if by work.

Words not only convey meaning, they carry perceptions. If someone were described as a businessman or a bum, a picture of the way the person is dressed and the persona of the individual quickly comes to mind.

Our children are not baby goats. They are intelligent, pliable, loving, little people who are born anxious to learn everything there is to learn in life.

They look to the adults in their immediate environment as role models of success. They create their world using the skills those adults have taught them and then pass those skills on to their children.

Leaders in education today would have us believe that the end goal of education is to graduate “kids” so that they can get a “job” and become “productive” members of society.

The true goal of education should be helping each child discover their niche and then to teach that child all of the skills that relate to the success of their role in life so that they can enjoy a long career in a profession to which they are dedicated.

When we use words it is important to be cognizant of the fact that words can create an image of failure that is acted upon without realization. The theory of learned helplessness begins with the idea that the purpose of education is for a kid to get a job.

We must reform education so that our children will discover their niche, reach their potential, and become successful human beings.

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