Time to Focus on the 4 Kinds of Smart.


I think we may be at a turning point for public education, but what do I know (please don’t answer… or send me insulting/truthful emails).There May Be More, But This Picture Indicates There Are Only Four Types of Smart.

In ten years, the world of education may be overtaken by home schooling, charter schools, and online learning (this interweb thing really seems to be catching on).

This makes me a little sad because I’m a big fan of public education (almost as big of fan as I am of chocolate).

But it’s all I know.

Maybe there is a better way.

Maybe our students can be better served by another type of system.

Maybe, just maybe, a system that relied less on government funding could better educate our children.

I don’t want to sound crazy, but schools might be better off if they didn’t have to answer to politicians (a crazy thought I know, but I’m just throwing it out there).

Here’s what I do know.

Public schools try to be everything to everybody.

We teach.  We serve breakfast.  We make sure kids know how to drive.

We offer exercise (if you count PE).  We put a whole lot of students on the Honor Roll. 

We teach kids how to type (why… I don’t know).

We provide sports and after school activities. 

We provide things we can’t afford and spend money in ways that may not be fiscally responsible.

To summarize, we try and do so much that we probably set ourselves up for failure.

My latest theory is we need to downsize.

Focus in on what students actually need.

Focus on things our country could actually benefit from since our students will be the ones leading us in 20 years.

I see 4 types of smart in students.

Academic.  Athletic.  Vocational.  The Arts.

Not 100% of all kids fall into one of these categories, but 99% of them do.

Common sense tells me we should identify what a student is good at and then help them be great.

Yet, we sort of identify what a kid is good at then we try to make them the same level of good in the other areas.

Mediocrity seems to be our goal.

Academic kids should be thrown in rigorous programs at a very young age.

Athletic kids should be given the opportunity to maximize their skills.

Vocational students should learn the skills they need to keep this country growing.

Students who thrive in the Arts should be allowed to do just that.

I think it’s simple.

And I think we make it complicated.

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TV Show Idea: Road School.


I have an idea. RV1.jpg    

An ingenious one.

It may sound like I’m full of myself, but if you don’t think your ideas are ingenious, who will?

You have to give me the benefit of the doubt because I could be delusional from the massive amounts of Advil coursing through my veins from my recent snowboarding accident (I fell… hard… on my caboose… now I must blog standing up… sad really).

In the past few years, I’ve watched my share of reality television.

Survivor. American Idol. Shows with angry unhappily married fake rich ladies. All the junk on E! and VH1.

Some of it’s good.

Most of it isn’t.

Usually, I come away with even lower expectations for the human race.

I’ll often watch and then go through a period of self-loathing and abdominal cramping.

Just recently (after my last blow to the head while snowboarding/falling), it occurred to be there is an untapped reality show market.

Education.

The great thing about a reality show about education is 100% familiar with the topic and issues surrounding it.

Most of us went to school. Some of us even graduated (8th grade counts).

It’s hard to find a family who doesn’t have at least one member who is a teacher, so the education reality television market could be a gold mine.

Here’s my idea.

A show called “Road School”.

It’s homeschooling, but in an RV.

Two things I know nothing about.

You take an average family with two educators, an Evil Spawn, a handsome beagle, big fancy motor home with internet and satellite television provided by the production company and you got yourself a show.

Hit the open road and let the high jinks ensue.

An entire school year learning from the land.

The family visits national parks, monuments, and also interacts with regular people.

They stop by the homes of astronauts, veterans, and inventors.

Each week the family goes to a new state, does charity work, has a new experience, and learns a valuable lesson.

At the end of each episode there’s a quiz on the places and people they visited and the things they learned.

The curriculum could be put out in advance so schools and homeschool students could participate along with the show.

It would be education for the next century.

Not confined to a desk or classroom, but learning by being out in the real world.

I see a blog, YouTube updates, lots of Tweeting, and possibly a Discovery Education tie-in.

The family not only learns new stuff, but grows closer.

There’s laughter. There’re tears. There are long speeches about the greatness of the American people.

It’s The Amazing Race, Dirty Jobs, American Pickers, combined with a life-long education.

It’s ingenious.

At least, I think think so.

Now I will just sit back and wait for some education organization to recognize my genius.

And throw massive amounts of cash at me and Buddy the Dog (because he doesn’t perform unless there’s money involved… or a carrot).

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Being a School Principal can be Wrought with Danger.


It Looks Good.  And It's a Danger.There are a lot of good things about being a school administrator. Unfortunately, with the good there must be some bad.

This kind of symmetry makes the world of education go round. First hour and last hour. Teachers and students. Homework and recess. Boys and girls. Math class and recess. Junior high students and detentions. School days and vacation. And the good and the bad.

If this highly organized system breaks down, our schools will be overtaken by mass confusion and total mayhem (alright… more than we have now).

I love the structure of the school day. Everything happens at a certain time.

School starts at 8:00 and dismisses at 3:30. Lunch is the same time every day. The work week is Monday through Friday. Pay day comes once a month whether I need it or not.

Structure and lots of it.

Nothing ever changes, until something goes horribly wrong. Which happens by my estimation about 113 times a day, if it has been a good and unusually peaceful day.

Last week I had one of those days. By late afternoon, things had almost been going too well. It had been almost too easy. It was quiet, maybe a little too quiet.

No crisis. No excitement. Nothing out of the ordinary. Until…

….I felt a sharp pain around my neck. Apparently I was being choked.

A variety of things ran through my mind. Who could it be? So little time and so many suspects. I quickly came up with a lengthy list of possible attackers.

Was it an angry parent? Had I upset a student or possibly a teacher? Someone in the community who was not happy with me? Maybe even the home school mom who keeps emailing me, or a soccer parent, or even the chocolate milk kid who haunts my dreams.

It could be one of a thousand people I had dealt with over the years.

One’s mind races in a time like this. My entire life flashed before me.

The highlights and, as it turns out, a lot of boring parts. If I survived this vicious attack, I really need to turn up the excitement a bit (alright… a lot).

My run as a school administrator was coming to an end in about 90 seconds if I didn’t act quickly.

Then it occurred to me.

I wasn’t being choked. I had just closed the file drawer on my tie. Sad but true. At least no one will ever know.

The moral of this story is I hate ties.

The good is I survived my attacking myself with a file cabinet. The bad is I am an idiot and still a target for about a thousand people (a guesstimate… there may be more).

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I am in Canada. Please Don’t Follow Me Home-School People.


I Love the Canadians!I am in hiding. I am not too proud to admit that for my own safety I have headed north and given up my job, my family, warmth, and quality professional football.

I am on the run because the Home-Schoolers aren’t happy with me.

This blog is being written from a seedy motel just outside Alberta, Canada. You may be asking yourself, “Why is he in Canada?”

The answer is that I wasn’t taught my directions in public school and I thought I was heading south. That was a joke Home-School People.

Maybe I can get a job at Elsinore Brewery (Google alert).

If you have read any of these idiotic rambling little stories that I have written (write may be too strong of a word- slop together during halftime of the game is more accurate), you have probably realized that they are not meant to have any deep meaning.

I have lots of “theories”, but even I realize most of them are moronic. However, they get me through my day-to-day sad little existence.

Truth be told, I don’t understand 75% of what is written in these blogs 20 minutes after I finish.

If you spend more than 3 minutes contemplating what you read, you have committed 2 ½ minutes more than me.

I have a very exciting life to live…. actually I don’t, but I want to believe I do.

It amazes me that the blogs I really like usually get very few comments, no angry emails, and I can continue to live in relative anonymity.

The ones that I believe no one will read (i.e. Home-Schooling, seems to cause my email account to back up like a toilet in a truck stop- oh great, now I have insulted truck drivers- I should have stopped with my insult about Canadian Football).

Anyway, it is no longer safe for me to stay in my home.

The Home-Schoolers have commented, emailed, and written about me on their websites. Who knew people who home-school are so tech savvy?

When I wrote (ok, slopped) the home-school blog, I thought it was relatively positive in regards to parents who teach their own kids.

I didn’t write (fine, slopped) that it is a huge task to think one person can be an excellent English, Math, Science, Health, Social Studies, Computer, Literature, Physical Education, Music, and Industrial Arts teacher.

I didn’t say that a child’s formative years are so complicated and important that they need outside influences and perspectives from other children and adults that aren’t their relatives

I didn’t write that people don’t home-school their children in college, which in many cases is far more liberal leaning academically and socially.

I didn’t write that the shared experience of public school (good and bad) is a time in all of our lives that ties most of us together for the rest of our lifetimes.

I didn’t write that class reunions for home-school students must be terribly boring.

I didn’t write that home-schooled students who return to public school have a big challenge in learning to social with other kids.

I wrote that I had respect for people who cared enough about their children to make a commitment to their education on a scale far greater than what I would endure.

But, yet I am a bad guy in their eyes. That is why I am on the run. While I am out here I can assure you that I will be helping OJ look for the killers (unless he is thrown in the slammer… cross your fingers).

There is an upside. As long as I am on the run, I won’t break an ankle traipsing through my daughter’s room and I don’t think they have soccer in Canada.

So in review, Canadian Football is odd, I have a poor sense of direction, this blog isn’t written by a genius, OJ needs my help, and using the restroom in a truck stop can be a roll of the dice.

And most importantly, people in America (I miss my homeland) are free to educate their children in any fashion that they choose.

God Bless America and All Hail Canada, you hosers!

Where else can you get a home-schooling discussion, Canadian Football talk, OJ Simpson references, advice about avoiding truck stop restrooms, and obscure quotes from that 1983 classic movie- Strange Brew. All for free.

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Homeschooling is Great, But it Sure Makes it Hard to Pick Teams.


You Have to Do What is Right for Your Child.As you can probably guess, I am not the world’s biggest fan of homeschooling.

I have gone through the public education system as a student, taught in it as a teacher, and currently work as an administrator. I don’t seem to be too badly damaged; unless you count the facial tic and the constant paranoia (of course it isn’t paranoia if everyone is out to get you, it is just good common sense).

That being said, I am partial to our country’s public school system.

I do try to understand parents who choose to home school their children. In my mind, you must respect people who care enough about their kids and their education to make this type of commitment.

Personally, I am the terrible person who was counting down the days until my child started school full-time so that I wouldn’t have to pay for daycare (is that wrong?).

It is a huge challenge to take on educating your own kids. In today’s world I think everyone knows of a family who has undertaken homeschooling, and they have usually been quite successful with their kids.

These children are usually very strong academically.

Proponents of homeschooling will point to high ACT and SAT scores as examples of how much these students have learned as they are about to enter college.

A lot of these children benefit from parents who are really concerned about education. These parents can have the highest academic standards, but I still feel like the kids are missing something.

When I went to school, the academic part was only a small portion of what I learned.

Sure, I learned Math, Science, Social Studies, and English (actually bad example, I learned jack squat in English). But I did learn how to sew, weld, draw, socialize, type, and play dodge ball (or as Coach called it… “The Freshmen Must Die”).

He was a wise man. I can remember him telling us that if we paid attention in all of our classes and God willing, we would only be freshman for one year. And he said there wasn’t a game called… “The Sophomores Must Die”.

You should never underestimate a man who wears shorts and a whistle every day. He certainly picked up some wisdom during his 6 1/2 years of college.

How does this apply to home-schooled children? I think they do get a strong academic background, but they miss out on so much more.

When I think about my K-12 education, I am seldom reminded of specific academic subjects. I can’t tell you about a math lesson or an English test (mainly because I didn’t understand).

But I can recall field trips, conversations in the hallway, an incident with a belt sander in the shop, and surviving dodge ball (Thanks, Coach).

School is about learning. Some in the classroom, but more in the hallway, on the bus, at recess, in PE, and at practice.

Everyone should go to at least one dance, have their own locker, be on an organized team that wins and loses together. At least one time in your life you should also live in fear that you might get hit by a dodge ball if you don’t pay attention and keep your mouth shut.

When you are homeschooled you are probably gaining a lot, but I think you could be missing more.

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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.