From time to time, I get questions from college students.
Sometimes these questions come from teachers obtaining their masters’ degrees.
Other times they are sent to me by scary hitchhikers who seem to have an uncanny sense of where I live.
1. How do you view the Common Core Standards in relation to the ’4 Kinds of Smart?’
Educators are probably going to hate Common Core. I say this because as educators we are bred to hate everything new.
I remember when I started my career, a veteran teacher cornered me for 45 minutes to tell me how the world would end if teachers were forced to use whiteboards instead of chalkboards.
Update on world ending: It didn’t.
My hope is Common Core levels the playing field.
Students, no matter where they were born, deserve the same quality of education. The system will never be completely fair, but we have to try to get it as close as we can.
I have big hopes for Common Core, but remember… I’m also standing in a very short line of educators who like NCLB.
I do hope this country begins to realize we must offer different types of education to satisfy the needs of different types of learners.
2. Discovery Education Science Techbook, covered in your April blog, seemed to underwhelm you. However, Pearson publishing, with funding from the Gates Foundation, is launching online curriculum that perfectly aligns with the Common Core Standards. The lion’s share of Gates foundation money is being invested in technology-based instruction and assessment. The new Teacher Evaluation (value added) system that pairs teacher performance with student test scores is already underway in most states and is aptly aimed at dissolving tenure. Most states now operate a K-12 virtual school. What do you believe is the long-range, underlying plan for education?
They don’t have a plan.
But the more they throw darts at the wall, the more likely they are to stumble upon a plan.
Discovery’s Techbook wasn’t terrible. It just didn’t meet my high hopes.
Getting rid of tenure is a good thing. Getting rid of teachers’ unions may turn out to be a bad thing.
I think we are in the beginning stages of the death of the public school as we know it. What the system will look like in 20 years, I have no idea. But, I’m hoping it pays superintendents well.
3. What do you think of Professional Learning Communities? Is this valuable collaboration, or a process-oriented waste of time?
A little from Column A… a little from Column B.
It can be a valuable collaboration and it can also be a process in which I update thousands of people on the sleeping habits of Buddy the Dog.
I have over 6,000 Twitter followers (@principalspage). I can almost gaurantee you they’ve learned nothing from me.
4. Are you worried about America’s world-standing in Education? Do you think education in the USA is being dragged down? And if so, by what?
No. We are fine.
America thrives on drama. In the education world, that means we are obsessed with our ranking in the world.
If I’m wrong, pick a country you want your child to go to high school.
And then go.
I mean it. Get out.
Get a box. Get your stuff. And beat it.
We are America. We should stop apologizing for not being perfect in every single facet of life. We do our best and sometimes that just has to be good enough.
We should be proud.
We have DISH and Direct TV, Five Guys, gas stations every 12 feet, pizza delivered right to our homes, and the NFL.
We owe no apologies.
Last time I checked, a lot more people were moving to America than away from America.
4. As a marathon runner and would-be professional baseball player, what are your thoughts on health and education?
I wish. Half-marathon.
I have the shirt to prove it.
We have to transition from teaching games in school to teaching good health habits.
I like to think occassionally the government does something productive. An example is getting 99% of the people not to smoke in my lifetime.
Now, I think we need to focus on healthy lifestyles for kids.
This will have to be done by the entire country. I think First Lady Obama is starting to push us in the right direction.
But we can do it. We’ve tackled smoking, factory working conditions, seatbelts in cars, and not drinking during preganancy. All in the last 50 years.
5. If you could be King of Education in America, what would you do?
Make it a federal crime for burning popcorn in the teacher’s lounge.
Go back in time and use all of the ARRA money to install air conditioning in schools that don’t have it.
Year round school.
Drop the idea of grade levels based on age. They should be based on ability.
Mandatory 2 years of service to our country after high school. Might be military. Could be working in a state park or soup kitchen. Do something to make the world a better place.
Start girls in kindergarten at age 6, boys at age 7.
Grade promotion based on testing. Test at grade 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12. Stop with the "some people don’t test well". They seem to do fine on their drivers license test.
Drop all state and federal testing until they figure out how to do it online and have it graded immediately. We can travel to the moon and back, but we can’t figure out a way to grade a multiple choice ACT test?
Make it a federal crime, punishable by death, if you mess up my order at the drive through.
I have more, but I’m just getting angry typing this list.
Actually that’s a lie. I’m just hungry.
The drive through comment made me realize I haven’t had dinner.
Go Falcons! (that’s where they questions came from… I hope you get an A Kris!)