“Change” requires DOING something different

Do you ever find yourself in a situation that seems like a never-ending circular argument?  Sometimes it seems to me that our schools are stuck in a permanent state of "Who's on First?"

There is so much talk about how schools want to improve their present circumstances.  They want their students to get better grades, achieve more in reading/math/science/technology. They want teachers to be happier and  more productive. They want bullying or other anti-social behavior to diminish. They want parents to be more involved and engaged in their children's education.  The schools are full of wants and objectives...but what do they do with that?

It's in the "do" that things fall apart.  You see, in order for things to be different in the schools, something has to change.  And, we all know that change is VERY hard. Even positive change.  And, for many schools, districts or administrations, change is virtually impossible. Here's what happens when you suggest change to improve their present circumstances:

Before I get too far down the road here with generalizations (anyone who has read this blog for a while KNOWS I hate rubber-stamping everyone with the same label), let me just say that I KNOW this isn't true of all schools, so please don't be offended if you are one of the enlightened and inspired ones who is honestly striving to make a difference. But this blog is directed at those for whom the following conditions ring true. (more…)

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Just released: Research Paper on How to Achieve More in Education, even with less

It's a been a year since I completed this research paper. I spent several months doing my own research, talking and corresponding with experts in the education field such as Liv Finne from the Washington Policy Center, Jon Rochkind of Public Agenda, Barry McCurdy of Institute of Clinical Training & Research, and many more. I owe them, and the many other sources cited in the paper, my great thanks. What came out of it was an honest and direct look at one of the root causes of many of the problems facing education today -- that of students who lack the social skills, emotional/character development and abilities to be successful in the classroom.

While the negative impacts of this problem are wide-spread, I chose to focus on only two specific areas: classroom productivity and teacher attrition.  The research paper is also specific to Washington State (my home state), but the information in it can easily be applied to any state in the nation, or extrapolated nationwide as I frequently do when speaking to education groups on this topic.

In the year since I completed the paper, I have spent many hours sharing the information privately and selectively to my local legislators, other education officials, and influential individuals.  I've been struggling with how to make this information more accessible, and it seems the time is right to offer it up to more public access.

You can read the paper's Executive Summary here -- there's also an area by which you can request to download the full copy of the paper.  I welcome your comments and feedback on this critical and grossly overlooked area.

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End of the school year blues

Ok, am I the only one this happens to?

At the end of the school year, I've got a serious case of the blues.  I have to avoid classrooms during the last week -- projects and posters are off the wall, the hallways are bare.  School's over; everyone wants to party except for me.

It's not what you think: (more…)

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