Good Parenting?

One of the things you learn as a school administrator is all parents believe they are doing a good job.

Everyone thinks they’re raising their child(ren) to be productive and useful members of society.

Nobody gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and says “I am a horrible parent (and very likely a despicable human being).”

Personally, I can’t say this.  Because if I wasn’t an excellent parent I wouldn’t be the proud owner of a “#1 Dad” mug (and I don’t even drink coffee).They Don't Give These Mugs to Just Anybody.

When things go terribly wrong with kids (see:  The Evil Spawn about 2017), all parents rationalize their role in the situation.

By rationalize, I mean blame someone else.

It’s never the parents’ fault because they didn’t raise their kids to act in whatever bad way they are acting (crime spree, 57 tattoos, 114 earrings, money laundering, etc.)

So it becomes the schools’ fault.

Or the coaches’.

Or the teachers’.

Or the principals’.

Or the school boards’.

Later in life it can even be the State Policemen’s, probation officers’, or the judges’ fault (I’ve encouraged The Evil Spawn to start saving for a good lawyer).

It’s never bad parenting (which is nice because it takes me off the hook for what is surely to be a rather tragic and sad year in 2017).

While we all think we’re good parents, some are obviously better than others.

If you work in a school you’ve probably accrued the 6th sense necessary to spot some of the less than great parents.

If you’re really good, you can spot them from a distance (which means several aisles over).

They turn up in the school office.  At the movie theater.  Or in the easiest place on earth to see a bad parent in captivity… Wal-mart.

There is just something in the way they carry themselves or a certain tone in their voices as they yell empty threats toward disrespectful children.

I like to think I have this skill.

I also think I may have spotted the worst case of bad parenting in recent memory.

It’s so bad, I didn’t feel comfortable posting a picture.

If you want to see it and have a strong stomach CLICK HERE (scroll down for picture).

I could be wrong (it happens frequently), but time will tell.

We will know if these young ladies (12 and 14) have been affected by bad parenting by the time they go to college.

Or rehab.

Or wherever reality TV stars go once fame has left them.

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What Really Motivates People.

You might be surprised.


Comments: 5

Time to Get Things Off My Desk. And Chest.

It’s summertime.

This means two things. 

The first is I finally have time to clean off my desk (I couldn’t find a paperclip all year and now I stumble across 1,714 in one drawer… who knew?).

Not Really My Desk.  It's From

Secondly, I find during the summer people continue to read this blog, but the number of comments go way down (yes, I’m trolling for more comments… I have little or no pride and apparently a great deal of free time).

The lack of comments could be a sign that the quality of my blog material isn’t as strong during the summer.

Or as I like to believe, readers are just way too busy (vacations, yard work, completing court-ordered community service, etc.)

Either way, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write(?) about a few of my half-baked theories that may not qualify for a full-blog.

So here are 10 possibly comment worthy theories of mine.


1.  World Cup soccer is the equivalent of ice skating in the Winter Olympics.

I’ll watch because I take great pride in pummeling less fortunate countries, but in two weeks I won’t be able to name one athlete who participated.

News to soccer lovers:  It still isn’t sweeping the country.  And it never will (although who knows, because I did think horse racing and boxing were here to stay…).

Little kids like soccer because it’s easy to understand (and pretty much every 6 year old likes to kick a ball and eat snacks after the game).

The rest of us don’t love it because you aren’t allowed to use your hands.

Americans like sports we invented.  And we only invent sports if we can use our hands.

I wish it was more complicated, but sadly it isn’t.


2.  There are way way too many loud blowhard white guys on cable news.  The loud I can mute, but is it too much to ask that we diversify a little bit? 

It is 2010 after all.

There has to be at least one obnoxious overweight Hispanic guy/gal out there somewhere who wants to complain about government.


3.  President Obama misjudged the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Turns out it’s kind of a big deal.

People are either incredibly angry or sad for those people/communities directly affected (and maybe more so for the birds covered in oil).

He’s not gaining many votes this summer.

He’s becoming the neighbor who leaves their trash cans in the front yard six days after the garbage has been picked up.

Not a big deal to them, but a huge deal to everyone else (yes, I just compared a massive oil spill to my neighbor’s trash… sorry about that).


4.  Twitter is great.

It’s also causing people to be less productive at work.

My estimate is employees are costing their companies $4.3 trillion dollars each year by Tweeting when they should be working.

But that’s just a guess.

It could be more (feel free to follow me on Twitter… @principalspage).


5.  Tony Hayward (head of BP) and General McChrystal (head of Afghanistan) are on my short list for Idiot of the Year (lucky for them we have a lot more year left).

Both should speak less.

Much less.


6.  My desk is like my dorm room in college.  It’s a magnet for crap I think I’ll need later, but as it turns out, it’s just crap.

I’m making a personal plea on behalf of everyone who holds a meeting or a convention.

Stop giving us free stuff.

We can’t handle it.

And we definitely can’t throw it away.


7.  As I get older (and older) winter is too cold and summer is too hot.

I have no point here, I just want to go on the record that I’m seldom happy with the weather.

No matter how bad my day, I always look forward to watching the weatherperson with contempt.


8. My daughter (the Evil Spawn) wants to be older.  I want her age to be frozen in time.

This is no doubt the first of 19,767 arguments we will have between now and her 18th birthday (again, could be more… I’m just guestimating).


9.  Education is changing.  Fast.

And the worst part is most teachers/administrators have no idea.

In 5 years most of us won’t recognize schools, curriculum, evaluations, or the technology advances.

My only hope is all of this makes education better.

But with the government involved, it’s 50/50 (but then again, isn’t everything).


10.  Buddy the Dog sleeps a lot.

And by a lot I mean at least 20 hours a day.

He only awakens to eat, roll over so we can scratch his big hairy gut, bark at big trucks (garbage, FedEx, UPS, busses, etc.), wander aimlessly around the yard, and use the bathroom (also aSeriously.... Why Did You Wake Me Up? lot… and I know because I mow).

His life is exactly how I envision my retirement years (I especially look forward to the belly scratching).


Feel free to comment. 

More importantly, enjoy your summer (it’s going fast).

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Warped Sense of Humor.


The following is an actual conversation with a real 9 year old girl.  The names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent.

Me: “You have a milk mustache.”

Evil Spawn: “I like tasty facial hair.”

Me: “Yuck.”

Evil Spawn: (Laughing) “Tasty facial hair.  That’s comedy gold.”

Me: “I’ve created a monster.”

I’m not really looking forward to her teenage years (although blog posts should come relatively easily).

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Fired for Blogging. It Was Just a Matter of Time.

It was bound to happen.Careful What You Say.  And Do.  And Blog.

Educator blogs.

Educator offends.

Educator gets fired.

Sooner or later someone in my profession was going to lose their job for writing a blog (Click HERE  and HERE to read the whole story).

A bad blog can be your last blog.

Lucky for me, I’ve never written a bad blog (or a good one now that I think about it…).

This story caught my interest because I’ve had people ask, “Aren’t you worried about being fired because of your blog?”


The Blog isn’t that bad (it’s what I like to call consistently mediocre…).

Plus, I can be fired for all kinds of things (legal reasons prevent me from going into more detail).

Having a blog shouldn’t increase the chances of losing your job.

In fact, the benefits of blogging far outweigh the risk of being unemployed.

A blog is a chance to help people, not hurt them.

I do worry stories like this one will make educators hesitant to blog and it shouldn’t.

As with most things in life, it all comes down to common sense.

The rule for educators blogging is quite simple (and there’s just one).

Don’t blog about anything you wouldn’t say loudly in public.

If it’s not appropriate for the teacher’s lounge, the school hallway, the office, at a parent-teacher conference, or in the stands of an athletic event, don’t blog about it.

It’s not that hard.

If it deals with a student or employee, error on the side of caution.

One day someone will walk in my office (or former office as it will then be called) and say, “Get a box.  Get your stuff.  And get out!”

But it won’t be for a bad blog (again, legal reasons prevent me from going into the exact details of what will lead to my inevitable unemployment).

Mainly because I try to think before I type.

And certainly before I hit post.

Blogging isn’t hard.  Good judgment is.

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Parent Nerves.

The Evil Spawn is growing up in all kinds of ways (and some are starting to make me terribly uncomfortable).

She’s aging (9 going on 27).  Her sense of fashion is evolving (heavy on the Bling-Bling).  Her sense of humor is getting slightly more sarcastic (must get that from her mother).  She taller (she’s grown 97 inches in the last 3 days).

I knew these would be inevitable.

She’s also growing up in regards to sports.

Not the Evil Spawn.  But it was Just 3 Short Years Ago.

If I’m being honest, I have to say watching little girls play soccer, basketball, and softball can be challenging.

Actually, I don’t mean challenging.

I mean painful.

It’s worse than watching paint dry.  It’s like watching paint being spilled.  Over and over again (and the girls spilling it don’t seem to understand any of the rules of the game).

She is now at the age where girls are starting to separate themselves.  It’s becoming easier to see the difference between the flower-pickers and the girls who really want to play (not that there is anything wrong with picking flowers…).

As a parent, I wasn’t prepared for this quick transition.

In softball, it’s gone from girls not being able to catch, throw, or hit to travel teams, expensive batting helmets, and pitching camps.

It’s all happening way too quickly.

I knew I wouldn’t be prepared for her growing up, but I didn’t realize it would all happen so quickly.

The bad fashion sense and smart aleck comments I can handle (and maybe even trump).

But I had no idea about the Parent Nerves.

This is a concept that I didn’t even know was a concept until this year.

Turns out watching your child compete in sports is much more difficult than playing them yourself.

I thought it would be fun, but I was wrong.  It’s less fun and more stressful.

When the Evil Spawn plays, I have this strange feeling overtake me.

If feels like I’m going be sick at my stomach (a nice way of saying I’m about to throw up all over my shoes).

The feeling is a combination of public speaking and riding a roller coaster (or spiders crawling up your nose just as you fall asleep… and good luck dozing off without thinking about this blog).

I really believed watching her would be an enjoyable experience.  Maybe even peaceful.

I envisioned myself being the proud parent who just stood on the sidelines and smiled.


It’s nerve-raking and traumatic.

My last words of encouragement before she heads onto the field

… “Don’t embarrass the family name.”

Maybe it will get easier over time.

Or maybe, I shouldn’t have reproduced.

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Principal Preparation Program.

Try and say Principal Preparation Program fast 3 times (I will wait while you complete this task…).

This blog is not just a tongue twister.  It goes way deeper than that.  It’s also a well-thought out review of a new Illinois Law called the School Leader Reform Act.

Actually, that’s a lie.Be Careful... You Don't Want to Crash on the First Day.

The blog is actually a thrown together half-baked commentary on what is wrong with the programs that supposedly prepare school administrators to lead their teachers and students.

The School Leader Reform Act is an attempt by the untrustworthy crooked politicians of Illinois to fix the way principals are selected and trained.

I’m okay with that.

The article from which I stole this blog says the two most important factors that influence student success are quality teaching and quality school leadership.

Fair enough.

I say let’s get rid of tenure and work on improving principals.


The crooked politicians won’t address tenure?

Okay, color me not surprised (after all, the next election is always just around the corner… and the next one… and so on… and on…).

Then let’s fix the principals (like they are all broken).

The new law wants to prepare principals to be instructional leaders.  Great idea.

It also wants colleges to make their school administration programs to be more challenging.  As opposed to revenue sources for their education departments.  Again, great idea.

Another aspect of the law is to allow an alternative pathway to principal endorsement through nonprofit entities.  Okay, this might just work.   As always, there is more than one way to skin a cat (although why you would want to I’ll never know).

Let’s start cranking out new and improved principals.

With that being said, I do have a couple of concerns with the law.

One is they want each principal candidate to participate in a month long residency program.  My complaint… a month isn’t long enough.

But neither is a year or five years.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, completely prepares you to be a school principal.

The closest thing might be Marine boot camp, but that’s about it.

Admittedly, a month is better than nothing… but not by much.

The other thing that bothers me is the law requires that no more than one-third of coursework in a preparation program can be taught by part-time adjunct faculty.

I think this is idiotic.

I know the politicians want full-time faculty members to be teaching the courses, but I think it should be just the opposite.

Most (if not all) courses should be taught by practicing principals and superintendents.

Or at the very least retirees who have worked in administration within the last 5 years.

I can make the argument that I can learn more from a well-versed administrator in an hour than I can from a professor in a classroom in a semester (no offense professors).

But at least the politicians seem to be heading in the right direction.

Which is nice.

And unusual for Illinois.

I wonder when they will pass a law call Political Leader Reform Act?

Now that’s legislation I could really support.

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Spam: Thank You.

I don’t understand Spam.  How it works.  Or what purpose it serves.

What I do know is Spammers know me.

They evidently know everything about me.

They know what I like.  What I need.  And what makes me tick.

I’m not going to lie, I love Spam (and not the kind you eat… that’s just gross… and more than a little slimy).

I Hate Spam.... But I LOVE Other Free Stuff.

I get my Spam in two ways.

The first is when they deliver it directly to my email address.  Often, on a daily basis.  Or more like 40 times a day.

It’s nice to know when I check my email that there are at least 27 messages from spammers.

The second way I get spammed is on comments to this blog.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when spammers take the time to share their thoughts on individual blogs (and more of you should… I’m just saying).

I’m not going to lie, all of this attention makes me feel really important.

The confusing part is how do they know so much about me?

Just this week they have tried to solve many of my problems.

They know I need diet pills.

And a baby name generator wizard.

And they believe I want to “meet” singles who have just moved into my neighborhood.

You have to admit, spammers are good.

They are helping me get an international drivers license.

And they are removing all of the spyware on my computer.

As an added bonus, they can enlarge parts of my body that I didn’t know could be enlarged.

I am overwhelmed by their generosity.

They are also willing to help me consolidate my debt.

And they are willing to show me how I can make millions off the internet right from my laptop.

I was thinking I’m the luckiest man in the world.

Then low and behold, it got even better.

I’ve evidently won the British Lottery and I’m the sole heir to the fortune of a Nigerian Queen.

It’s good to be me.

On top of all this good fortune, the spammers somehow know I need Viagra.

And by the number of emails they send me… lots of it.

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Great Coach = Great Teacher.

Coach John Wooden has passed away at the age of 99 (1910-2010).

He is considered to be one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time.

More importantly, he is considered to be one of the greatest teachers of all-time.

Sometimes great teaching takes place in a classroom.  Sometimes it takes place on an athletic field (or court).

Both take exactly the same gift.

After his coaching career ended, he said, "I have not for one moment regretted retiring from my teaching position at UCLA. I use the word teacher purposely, because I’ve always considered a coach to be a teacher."


Here is a list of some of his other "Woodenisms."

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."Coach John Wooden:  October 14, 1910 - June 4, 2010.

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

"Be prepared and be honest."

"You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one."

"You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

"I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."

"If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

"If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes."

"It isn’t what you do, but how you do it."

"Ability is a poor man’s wealth."

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."

"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights."

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

"Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

"It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."

"It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts."

"It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts."


Comments: 4

Eduspeak Gives Me a Headache.

I'm Carl.  My Head Hurts.

I’m starting to think our sole purpose as educators is to confuse the rest of the world.  

We spend way too much time speaking in initials.

No one… and I mean no one… has any idea what we are talking about.

Below I’ve listed 25 educational acronyms. 

If you know more than 15, you definitely work in education.

If you know more than 20, you are school administrator material.

If you can translate all 25 (and sadly, I can), you are a gigantic dork who needs a hobby.

Answers are at the bottom. 

Don’t cheat.  I’m watching you (as is Buddy the Dog’s crazy Uncle Carl… he’s the handsome devil above).

1.  AASA

2.  ACT

3.  CPS

4.  IDEA

5.  OPMA

6.  GPA

7.  NEA

8.  ASBO

9.  TRS

10.  FICA

11.  AFT

12.  IEP

13.  NAESP

14.  SAT

15.  NSBA

16.  AESD

17.  NCLB

18.  ASCD

19.  GED

20.  ASFSA

21.  RTI

22.  NREA

23.  NASSP

24.  EEOC

25.  SAT

Bonus:  CYA

Answers:  1. American Association of School Administrators  2. American College Test  3. Child Protective Services  4. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  5. Open Public Meetings Act  6. Grade Point Average  7. National Education Association  8. Association of School Business Officials  9. Teachers’ Retirement System  10. Federal Insurance Contributions Act  11. American Federation of Teachers  12. Individualized Educational Program  13. National Association of Elementary School Principals  14. Scholastic Assessment Test  15.  National School Boards Association  16. Association of Educational Service Districts  17. No Child Left Behind  18. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development  19. General Education Development Tests (or Certificates)  20. American School Food Service Association  21. Response to Intervention  22. National Rural Education Association  23. National Association of Secondary School Principals  24. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  25. Scholastic Aptitude Test  Bonus: Cover Your A**

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.