Balancing Education

When we think of balance, we think of a scale, weighing out two objects, taking a little here, adding a little there to bring the point of the balance as close to zero as possible.

This is our current system of education, balancing the knowledge imparted to our children against the bubbles filled in on a standardized test. In this type of balancing act, anything can be made to balance and the items being weighed do not have to relate or connect to each other in any way.

Now, envision the balance of a tightrope walker that must move with the rope that is controlled by the wind, and balance becomes a give and take between the wind, the rope, and the walker, allowing each the freedom to become part of the experience in order successfully navigate it, taking the knowledge gained from the success or failure of the experience to the next.

As one, the wind, the rope, and the walker share the responsibility for the success of the experience. However, it is the tightrope walker who is in control. The tightrope walker makes the decision to stop, adjust, if necessary, and then move on, always cognizant of the conditions under which the walk is taking place, always prepared to respond positively to wherever the wind moves the rope.

When we successfully educate our children, they will be able to successfully balance on the tightrope called life, always looking ahead, moving toward their goals, using their gifts and talents to skillfully control the rope, remaining balanced through strong wind and heavy rains. And, when they make it to the end, they can reach back and help others determine how to best reach theirs.

Moving forward, looking back, that is what celebrating the New Year is all about. Moving toward new experiences, using what we have learned in the past to make better decisions for the present and future.

An excellent education must prepare our children to balance on the tightrope, not brace for the fall.

Happy New Year!

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The Perfect Gift

When buying a gift for someone, do you think of the person or do you think of the cost of the gift?

Generally, the relationship between the giver and the giftee dictates the buying perception. The closer the relationship, the more expensive the gift, money doesn’t matter, the person matters.

In education, we have always thought of the cost of the gift of education without first considering the person receiving the gift. And, the more we placed the cost of education ahead of the education of the child, the more distant the relationship between our children and education became until the gap became so wide that the connection snapped and failure was all we could expect.

In order to reform education, we have to refocus the intent of our gift giving to reflect the person receiving the education. We have to begin to provide our children with a system of education that considers their educational success first in order to insure their personal success later. Our gift of education to our children must enhance their learning experience, not detract from it. Giving our children the gift of an excellent education means a lifetime of satisfied smiles and happy dances.

Giving our children an excellent education means that they will have learned how gifted and talented they are so they can recognize the gifts and talents of others, appreciating and respecting the fact that everyone has a wonderful gift to give this life.

In refocusing the system of education on our children, we can reconnect them to the world they will inherit and then teach them how to become closer in their relationship with every aspect of their world, sparing no mental, physical, or spiritual expense to make their life’s experiences successful. Once properly educated, our children will learn to love instead of hate, the most perfect gift of all.

An excellent education is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Give the gift that lasts forever. Reform education and give all of our children the opportunity to succeed.

God bless us all, everyone!

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Believe In Education

Belief: A state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing; conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

Teaching our children to believe in themselves requires nothing more than showing them they have gifts and talents to offer the world, that they are worth believing in.

Believing in yourself means you trust yourself. It means you are confident and self assured. It does not take more time to convince a child that they are gifted and talented, it takes more care, more concern for the child, their feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.

Believing in yourself means there has to be evidence of greatness within. How long does it take to convince a child of how wonderful they are?

It is only after children enter school that they stop believing in themselves and in the world.

In school children learn that learning is fun only after the testings done. Once the holidays are over, the “rigor” to prepare for standardized testing begins. There will be pre-testing, post pre-testing, benchmark testing, and post benchmark testing. There will be pre-testing and benchmark testing review and then teachers will go over all the questions that were missed on all the pre, post, and benchmark tests, so that students are very clear on what to do to pass “the” test.

Only, they don’t pass the tests. They don’t care about the tests because they have learned not to care about their education. They have learned that educators don’t believe in them and the system of education thinks they are worth nothing more than a score on a test.

An excellent, child centered, education teaches children to believe in themselves. An excellent education teaches children to believe that they have something wonderful to offer the world through the contribution of their gifts and talents.

If we are to truly reform education we must believe that children are gifted and talented not ineducable and disabled.

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Back To The “CC” Common Core

The debate as to the relevance of the common core standards seems to be somewhat misguided. Should there be standards, there is no doubt of that. There must certainly be a “blueprint” of the expectations of all stakeholders in the process of education. It is this understanding that makes the current common core standards inefficient and ineffective.

Currently the common core standards address what the student will learn and that, in and of itself, is an inefficient way of looking at the developmental learning processes of children. The standards should be addressing how children learn, not what they learn. Once we understand how each child learns best and gear the educational process to their learning, the content of the desired knowledge is infinite.

Common core standards that only address one stakeholder in the process and then using the success or failure of that one stakeholder to assess the capabilities and accountability of any other stakeholder in the group is not only ineffective, but nonsensical. In order to properly assess each stakeholder’s responsibilities in the process, each group should have its own rubric of expectations and be evaluated by that agreed upon set of standards, with the understanding that all involved are assessed for their part in the failure of the child to be properly educated.

Common core standards that direct or guide instruction are invaluable. However, when those standards become the only instruction and that instruction ignores the talent and passion the teacher brings to the classroom, while assessing our children on their ability to regurgitate facts instead of the compassion they show their fellow man, the use of standards is being abused.

It is time to reform the entire system of education from the leaders to the cleaners, each one respected for their contribution to the educational success of our children. Each one expected to be a role model for our children from Pre-K to life.

When we respect ourselves, we respect others. When we teacher our children to respect themselves we will have educated them successfully.

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Self Control vs Gun Control

“Self control is the key to self respect.”

Each school day began with this saying. Each time there was a transition, the teacher would say, “Remember,” and the children would reply, “Self control is the key to self respect.” Upon arrival at the transition destination the teacher would say, “Do the right thing,” and the children responded, “Because its the right thing to do.”

These are two simple little things that children can learn in school whether or not it is taught in the home.

When education is reformed and the people take responsibility for being the government they were meant to be, controlling the things that people own will be unnecessary because the people will control themselves.

When education becomes humane, our children will realize that they are powerful without a knife or a gun but filled with the power of righteousness, the strength of honor, and the humility of integrity.

When education fulfills its original intent, mankind will no longer look upon their fellow man with envy and hate but with eager anticipation of the experiences they can share with one another.

When the system of education is reformed our children will be confident in who they are and what they have to offer this world in terms of their potential and passion.

This country does not need legislation in order to control its populous, we must create a system of education that teaches our children self respect, self control, and higher order problem solving. America’s system of education must build upon the positive talents of our children so that they enter adulthood confident in their ability to succeed.

It is not strange that these mass murders are taking place in affluent America. The mis-education of the rich is more detrimental to them because their whole world is a lie. Children of poverty, at least, have some survival skills in place before they enter the school system.

The mission of education is to promote the success of humanity and the world! ALL children must be provided an excellent education.

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What They Do Is What We Get

Fred Tanksley, a RCSD parent and community activist said something very wise at the public hearing on the Superintendent’s Facilities Modernization Plan. Mr. Tanksley said, “As parents we send our children to the district for you to assist us in the education of our children.”

It is the expectation of parents that the school district should “assist them” in the education of their children. Think of that, a school district, that by design and function, sees its purpose as assisting parents in the education of their children.

The Rochester City School District certainly does not state, in design or function, that it is here to assist parents in the education of their children.

In fact, the opposite is true. By design and function, parents are given only cursory information about the district and public hearings are updates of a plan that was put in place by the previous superintendent who was, along with his plan, approved by the School Board, not the public.

Was the community informed of the District/Union collaboration to solicit grant dollars from any foundation for extending our children’s school day?

Was there a robo-call asking for the opinions of parents?

Was there an online survey offered to gain insight into public opinion on the subject?

All of this technology is available and yet none of it was utilized to engage parents and the general public in the district’s intent to become part of the “Time Collaborative.”

Three hundred more hours a year, at six hours a school day, amounts to forty-three additional days for our children to experience the failure of our district to provide them with an excellent education.

The design and function of our district is not parent and community friendly which is a requirement of education policy. The design and function of our district is failing our children. If what they do is not what we want, we must make known our expectations and then elect those that will meet them.

Our children deserve an excellent education, not more time ensconced in failure.

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Learning To Love

When a tragedy like that in Connecticut happens, people tend to want to know why. It is not the why that is important, but the what that led up to the why.

What happened in this mother’s life, in this young man’s life, in this family’s life that precipitated such hate within them for themselves that they were unable to see the value of their own lives on earth or the value of the lives of others?

This was not a family tragedy, this is a national tragedy that points to the failure of our system of education to properly educate our children to the personal power they possess in their own lives and in the world.

Our current system of education denigrates our children to the status of baby goats, kids, while encouraging them to believe in, love, and even emulate, witches, warlocks, werewolves, and vampires. Harry Potter and Twilight can be had in any public school in America but few children are able to go to their school library and check out a copy of the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, Qur’an, Dhammapada, Tao Te Ching, the Writings of Baha’u’lah, the Confucian Analects, or the Bible.

As a nation we have lost faith in faith, the very foundation of our country. Our elected officials are role models of injustice, our appointed leaders are motivated by greed and the adults of our society are made complacent by capitalism.

In the beginning of public education, children were taught to read, write, and cipher from the Bible. They were strong, mentally, physically, and spiritually. They ate little, worked hard, and understood that telling a lie was wrong.

It is not difficult making the connection between the inhumane treatment of our children in public school, being sold the idea that they are nothing more than a commodity in a consumer market, and a twenty year old young man who did not understand his value to this life or the value of the twenty-seven other souls he freed.

A proper education teaches our children to be lovingly powerful.

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