Archive for category Leadership

The Poetry of Change

Shift & Solitude

When seeking change,
The mind softens
And in solitude our thoughts pause.

Static becomes pliable;
We shape a perception,
And a new mold emerges from objectivity and innovation.

Embracing a new reality
Involves passionate argument,
Often with ourselves in equal measure to those around us.

We battle for our new beliefs.
But, we only win the war
When we live what we conceive.

— Jon P. Zurfluh

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The Middle Grades: Zits, Braces, and Hormones

This piece from ASCD “The Whole Child” feed is worth a read:

The Whole Child Podcast « Whole Child Education.

The thing that impresses me the most is the attention to a key belief that I also hold.  They accurately reflect on the complexity of the education experience and how this is especially true for the middle grades where “young people are grappling to figure out who they are.”

Altogether an inspired look at a wholistic and viable approach.

UPDATE:
Here’s the policy brief that supports this work:

http://www.nmsa.org/portals/0/pdf/research/Research_from_the_Field/Policy_Brief_Balfanz.pdf

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Another look at the future…

I remember a similar video from Microsoft that takes a look at the future – not too distant – to conjecture on the state of the world associated with products already in the pipeline.  I like to think of it as the nexus between StarTrek and reality.  We’ve seen many crossover and successful products emerge this way. On the backs of Roddenberry style imagination, the future is crafted.  Science fiction brought us cell phones and iPads.  This video suggests what is next in interactive environments.

So the question that emerges is what do we do about preparing students for a future like this? If they only used today’s computers, will they be ready to demonstrate proficiency in a world of this level of interactive demand?

Leadership requires that we move education closer to the leading edge of this kind of development. I have to prepare students for this in school, so that they can go on to dream the next level of accomplishment. The people that are crafting these new ideas were enabled at some point in their education to see beyond the limitations. Can we create another generation of unimagined innovation?

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Leadership and Learning

Jay McTighe, one of the gurus behind Understanding by Design, has posted this video on his recent encounter with failure.  It speaks to the issue of leaders who are often marked by age that is associated with their experience. Even Jay is showing his age despite the fact that he is only 7 years my senior. (This fact caused me to go peak in my mirror.  Yikes!)

At the AAIE conference, this was apparent as I looked across a “wise” crowd of international school leaders.  The focus of the weekend was technology and the overall content of the conference fell short of accessing the robust technology available today.  That doesn’t mean it was a bad conference – just bereft of the tools we were discussing.  I would suggest that it drove home the point of the separation between digital natives, digital immigrants, and digital dinosaurs.  While Jay is talking mostly about learning (and learners), I’m suggesting that his insights also provide a unique focus on leaders who are desperate to remain open to innovation, but are challenged by their own fear of failure when addressing a complex and constantly changing context.

Marc Prensky helped us to understand through his keynote that our issue is about the difference between nouns and verbs.  We need to be less focused on the nouns which constitute the latest fads of technology tools (e.g. – Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc.) and focus instead on the skills (verbs) of the 21st century.  While we need to embrace the nouns as they emerge and are adopted, the process skills of problem solving, collaboration, and communication remain static and highly adaptive to the new context.  A powerful connection when considering Jay’s insight into how we address our fear of failure.  As Jay notes:

  • Don’t give in to negative self-talk
  • Don’t let an initial failure keep you from trying again
  • Be strategic – practice, details, visualize success

Surfing at 60 is possible for even our most experienced leaders.  And I’m not talking about the ocean kind of surfing.

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Egypt and Leadership

Wael Ghonim has demonstrated something extremely special through his emergence as a face of leadership within the movement currently underway in Egypt.  While the regular news pundits are trying to explain and simplify what they hear in the words of this man, the inescapable truth of this man is not his simplicity, but his complexity.

While watching his interview on CNN, I couldn’t help but feel tears welling up in my eyes as I felt the passion in his words:

Do you see what I see?

  • Inspiration – the ability to share a vision of something that resonates with the Egyptian people – in fact the basic truth of mutual respect and the ethical base of the well-being of the common man.
  • Individual Consideration – a commitment to the well being of others and the utter disgust at the lives lost in the process.  He seeks what we all seek – to live a life fulfilled.  He is representing the belief that all have the inalienable right to pursuit of happiness.  The rights of self-determination and freedom are reinforced again and again.  I can’t help but believe that Thomas Jefferson would be proud and moved by the merits of this revolution.
  • Intellectual stimulation – this is a group of well educated individuals.  It validates the power of education and the degree to which educated people are empowered by their knowledge.  These revolutionary leaders are teachers.  They are teaching the people of Egypt what it means to be proud of their country and engaged in the process of transformation.
  • Idealized Influence – Wael notes that he is prepared to die for this cause.  He offers the ultimate in search of the realization of a dream, not for himself, but for his country.  He accurately describes himself as a patriot.

Like a true Level 5 leader, he reflects attention to the collaborative efforts of his followers.  Inspired by their energy and attention, he directs everyone to those around him who are serving the aims of the people every day in Tahir Square and throughout the country.

It’s interesting that the political pundits caution us with claims that democracy “can’t happen that fast.”  Like those who failed to predict the events of recent weeks, it is shortsighted to think that democracy can’t emerge quickly in a very different plugged-in world.  I think we may be seeing the emergence of a new democracy – one that accepts the realities of the digital age and utilizes technology to accomplish in a fortnight what once took decades to establish.  I believe that we will see democracy take root in Egypt far faster than any can comprehend.  The impassioned and empowered youth of Egypt will allow nothing less.

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Leadership – a reminder…

A pertinent and not often quoted piece from James McGregor Burns (1978):

Can leadership be taught?

…We have conceived of leadership in these pages as the tapping of existing and potential motive and power bases of followers by leaders, for the purpose of achieving intended change.  We conceive of education in essentially the same terms.  So viewed, education is not merely the shaping of values, the imparting of “facts” or the teaching of skills, indispensable though these are; it is the total teaching and learning process operating in homes, schools, gangs, temples, churches, garages, streets, armies, corporations, bars, and unions, conducted by both teachers and learners, engaging with the total environment and involving influence over persons’ selves and their opportunities and destinies, not simply their minds.

Persons are taught by shared experiences and interacting motivations within identifiable physical, psychological, and socio-political environments.  Ultimately, education and leadership shade into each other to become almost inseparable, but only when both are defined as the reciprocal raising of levels of motivation rather than indoctrination or coercion.

The emergence of increased attention to student diversity in the current age reconnects us to the complex development of leadership that Burn’s describes.  Education under these terms is consistent with the pleas of Stiggins, Kohn, and Pink when we look at understanding what truly motivates and how our institutionalized approaches undermine our desired state.  Burns, like the others, has called behaviorist theory into question yet again, when considering the more complex functions of how we interact in complex relationships.

Do we need basic skills?  Yes, of course.

Must we eliminate the nuances of relationship and intrinsic motivation by adhering to aging pedagogy? I hope not.

For me, individual excellence is enhanced by understanding the complexity of relationships and by reducing the degree to which we standardize our approaches.  Is there anyone in the world that really wants just a “standard” education?  Wouldn’t we all really like an “excellent” education?

References

Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row. 

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I’m a fan of TED…

In case you didn’t already know it, I’m an ardent fan of TED. More than any of the speeches themselves, it’s the way they are developed and presented that makes TED so unique. This video demonstrates the passion and the planning that brings about true inspiration.

Behind the TEDTalk 2010 from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

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Holiday Letter 2010

It’s that special time between Christmas and New Year where we take stock of the year now past and look forward to the year ahead.  Here’s our letter that was sent to family and friends today:

Christmas Letter 2010

Enjoy and share…

Jon

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Presenting at #globaled10

Update:

Only had a few participants, but enjoyed talking about my topic and the powerpoint seemed to have just the right amount of data.  Had some nice involvement, but it would have been even more fun with hundreds.  😉

Here’s the recording link: https://sas.elluminate.com/drtbl?sid=gec2010&suid=D.C0BBFA0A2D7CF1BE39A2A24C253474


I’m presenting today at GlobalEd10 in my first online Eluminate session.  This is a wonderful first attempt at global staff development in a virtual environment and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on leadership in a multi-cultural environment with whoever shows up.  I have not been pushing for participation because I’m a bit nervous, but looking forward to sharing my thoughts as they relate to my doctoral work on the topic.  Slideshare is now ready and this post is going up about 2 hours before the session.  Hope it doesn’t give too much of it away to otherwise turn people away.  Truthfully, I have lots of stories to tell to go with this content.

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Simplicity is our enemy…

A couple of issues are nagging on me and, as I watched an old TED video by Dan Meyer, some thoughts formed on why we are struggling with change and reform in schools (or anywhere for that matter).  Dan quoted David Milch with the following when reflecting on the ills of a sit-com society:

It [television] creates an impatience … with irresolution….

We can see examples of this in every aspect of life.  We see it in politics and government.  We see it in advertisement and product delivery.  Certainly, in computers and technology, we have examples of this modality where immediate gratification drives our interest and decision making.

In fact, a recent parent conference confirmed my ongoing frustration with this simple solution mentality.  My son, who is generally a capable student, made a mistake on a recent test.  In one section of the test, he failed to read a direction that required students answering false in a true/false section to also correct the statement to make it true.  Like many of his classmates, he failed to follow this subtle direction and, thus, an “A/B” grade became a “D.”  At the conference held to discuss this issue, it also turned out that this was an object lesson in “following directions” and the teachers actually expected many of the students to mess up.  As luck would have it, the principal sat in on our conference and reiterated the school’s belief that this was a fair judgment of what my child was “taught.”  After all, “we have to teach kids that there are consequences in life and you don’t always get second chances.”

After holding my breath for a few moments, I simply asked for assessments that actually measured what my child knows and can do.  The response was, “we are not doing standards based grading, so we can’t do that.”  Interesting for a district that cites Stiggins on their website as a key reference and has pride in a “guaranteed and viable curriculum.”

So here is where simplicity fits into this discussion:

  1. We like the simplicity of object lessons, because it means we don’t have to monitor students as they work to assure success.
  2. We like the simplicity of quick and easy solutions because we can stand stoically behind them as ingeniously logical and sustainable despite the mythology upon which they are based.
  3. We like standardized tests and common core curriculum because we don’t have to be accountable for the hard work or results associated with our own professional expertise.  Instead, we can just implement and follow instructional guides with little thought to adaptation or unique insight.
  4. We like the political election cycle because we can regularly blame whoever is in power and vote them out only to find similar reaction to those elected in the next cycle — and on and on and on….
  5. We like to eliminate technology and leading edge curriculum from schools because they are far too complex to allow in a simple solution environment — and we might have to struggle a bit to get it right.
  6. We like making parents sign forms (with a witness signature) for every image that may accidentally be displayed on a school website (if there were any school website pages actually updated regularly) because we like the simplicity of signatures and absolving ourselves of responsibility.
  7. We like the simplicity of spending oodles of money contemplating geo-engineering to fix our planet in the future rather than conserving resources today – it’s simple and I don’t have to deal with it.

You get the picture?  We have allowed simplicity to guide our thinking to the point of seeking the 30-minute solution to all our problems.  We elected a president to a 4-year term of tough change only to be abandoning his efforts halfway through our commitment. We look for simple and quick solutions around every corner.  An economic meltdown should be solved in a fortnight.  Somebody please wave the wand and make 10% unemployment turn into 5% by morning.  Elect me and I can make that happen.  Right!?!?!?!?

Politics, education, and life are complex matters.  Get used to it.  Turn off the TV, read a book (I dare you), write frequent letters to your elected representatives, and realize that the world still turns at roughly the same velocity as it did decades and centuries ago.  Give our kids a break and let them explore the wonders of the universe rather than just mastering the drudgery of sanitized benchmarks.  Open their minds instead of hardening their hearts. Please?!

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Changing Paradigms and Getting It Right…

This explanatory video discusses ADHD and a variety of topics, but more importantly, it’s a valuable call to action against a different perspective on the needed reforms that should be taking place around the world. While I value that he has only touched on a few key topics, the references to globalization are critical to understand the complex dynamics in play. We dare not ignore the insidiously embedded nature of predispositions that have been layered upon us. Schools have effectively trained themselves into complacency and conformity over decades. Any change effort is fraught with challenge and acrimony when it confronts these well established myths of how learning should take place.

My take on the key points:

  1. We must attack this issue globally.
  2. We must dispel the grouping and packing of students. Remove the assembly line mentality to achieve the greatest gains.
  3. We have to abandon all attempts to create a perfect system to meet all needs. While I value that the business leaders want these systems to control costs, the reality is we need to spend less on obsolete materials and methods and move these resources to meeting the needs of the moment. Let’s capture the uniqueness of individuals and build responsive systems that are messy and less defined – let collaboration emerge as our primary response mechanism. (BTW – this will get rid of the teachers who want to plan really well in their first year and then repeat it 29 times until they retire.)
  4. Let’s focus our energies on truly accepting and understanding the concept of motivation and stop our practice of brainwashing children to accept carrot & stick as a way of life.

I’m sure there is more here that others would think worthy of equal emphasis. What do you think?

One reflection: Have you noticed how the successful “pockets” of innovation seem to first isolate themselves from interaction before they go public with their achievements? Look at the Harlem Children’s Zone as an example. The work there was isolated and tied to one innovator. He sold it selectively and built it as a distinct departure from the paradigms. After it achieved success, he trumpeted it and reigned in the additional resources to meet the needs of each successive generation. We see many of these “pockets of excellence” emerging everywhere. I say, let the diversity reign and let’s allow these pockets to multiply geometrically and meet the needs of the next generation of learners. Competition is dead. Long live divine inspiration and dedicated, purpose-driven organizations!!

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The Zurfluh’s are heading to Moscow!!!

It’s with both pride and gratitude that I’m able to announce our move to Moscow, Russia in July, 2011 as I take up the position of Director for the Anglo-American School of Moscow and St. Petersburg. As the largest school in the CEESA region, I’ll master the helm of about 1500 students on two campuses in two distinctive cities in Central/Eastern Europe. For more details of my appointment, read the board communication and my introductory thoughts to the AAS community here.

Here’s a great picture of our new home:

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241 Teachers Lose Jobs

Michelle Rhee announced this week the firing of 241 teachers as part of the ongoing implementation of a broad based reform movement (IMPACT) that she undertook just a short time ago. This program is not new content and is ultimately based on work by Marzano and Waters (2009 and prior) that connects the essence of reform to the concept of “value added.” They also equate this term with words like “growth” and “knowledge gains” to give context to the meaning.

Interestingly, the media has attached this value added concept to student test scores when discussing the evaluation that took place while screening for failing or ineffective teachers. I think this may be over-simplification of the concept of accountability for formative assessment gains over time that was originally proposed by Marzano and Waters. In fact, there should be a plan in place to address both curriculum and assessment tied to these plans and accountability measures.

If she is looking only at achievement test scores, then this plan is flawed and should be addressed immediately. I doubt that based on the material I have reviewed on the IMPACT website and the foundational literature upon which it is based. I suggest that this may be the best of the recent spate of firings because it has strong pedagogy behind it.

731 additional teachers are on notice to improve. This group will be the ones to watch. If these reforms truly meet the demands of eliciting greater achievement in the classroom, then these teachers will be the test of the efficacy of accountability. Under increase scrutiny, do you think these teachers will get better? Will supports be provided consistent with the pressure as leading researchers have confirmed is critical?

The union fight is inevitable and unlikely to draw too much attention. We all know that the union works for these fired teachers are required by their policies as a representative of the teachers to pursue accordingly. It is unlikely, however, that any of these teachers will find their way back to DC classrooms because the leadership cannot afford to be undercut in their search of excellence and in the shadow of an election year for Fenty. For this number of people to move through the appeal and/or arbitration process will likely take years. I think Michelle’s staff is counting on that.

About the only thing they need to worry about is finding enough teachers to take the open positions. The salary incentives installed as part of this measure will require a decade before new teachers will be encouraged to join the ranks and fill the empty spots. This is a nationwide barrier to the kind of turnover many expect. Thus, the dance of the lemons continues unabated until we find instrumental ways to renew and inspire teachers who have been disenfranchised by incompetent leaders for decades. The underlying story of these firings has to include the question – How did these teachers remain in their posts for so long without scrutiny? What was wrong with the administration that allowed this to continue for so long? And, finally – Where do you think these teachers will ultimately land?

References

Marzano, R. J., & Waters, T. (2009). District Leadership That Works: Striking the Right Balance. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

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Motivation – Again!?!?

Seems like the week to discuss motivation and as I consider various links and tracebacks, I’m found bringing together some ideas into a new framework of understanding many things I have written before and will likely ponder in the future.  This video brings this thinking to specific relief.

We have discussed previously how setting our sights on common denominators (e.g. high stakes tests, common core curriculum, etc.) seems somehow counter-intuitive.  Additionally, many others have offered insight into the dangers of these practices.  Any other approach seems just too challenging to discuss in the midst of political wrangling, decaying facilities, and budgetary degradation.  We seek the average because we have lost the incentive to reach for something that often seems beyond our grasp.  We have lost the pioneering spirit.

In this video from 1972, legendary psychiatrist Viktor Frankl offers an important message about our motivations and our expectations for each other.

Whether we are talking about advances in science, travels to Mars, or the development of new curriculum, this simple video may be the piece that helps us all get past our limitations and our struggle with mediocrity.

We must find a way to seek for children more than our perceptions of their limitations.  We have to provide for the true and honest development of their pioneering spirit.  As the video declares, we must seek point far “north” of mediocrity and find our destination somewhere between average and eminently closer to excellent.

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This is Granularity…

Coming on the heels of my post this morning is a new release from TED.comAditi Shankardass — who shares her work on brain research that has uncovered the misdiagnosis of 50% of autistic children due to using behavioral observations alone.  Sounds like examining the boulder from the outside again and coming to inaccurate conclusions.

Seems, despite the associated costs, that we should address this issue by examining our decision-making paradigms.  Should we assess the American Educational System on the basis of high-stakes tests alone?   Should we use carrot/stick methodologies to increase competition and offer rewards for excellence when we want a comprehensive and viable education for all?

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Granularity

While deeply involved in Marzanno and Waters (2009), I had the opportunity recently to attend a recent high school orchestra concert. It is, thus, logical to reflect on instructional leadership as similar to the experience of developing a musical harmony that mingles concepts from Marzanno and others such that we have a cohesive, but responsive approach to student achievement. While many would assume that a musical composition is static in nature, it is in fact a highly dynamic endeavor that yields different results when factors of acoustics, instruments, expertise, and the emotions behind the score spread and mix upon the stage. In this most recent concert, graduating seniors and year-end farewells set the stage for an once-in-a-lifetime version of a particularly complicated flute solo that was masterfully presented as a farewell tribute to the conductor and teacher.  Much like an orchestral piece of music, the notes and staff only told a very course version of the story behind the music. The instrumental process that yields note dynamics, breath control, posture, precision (or lack thereof), and a weaving of expertise results in a performance – an experience.

In much the same way, our current approach to achievement is more about looking at the music rather than reflecting on the elements of the performance. This emerges from an issue of granularity. When we look at a large boulder, we see the surface and get general information regarding the face of the boulder and maybe some insight into the color, texture, and weight of the object. Summative testing is akin to this global view where we derive scores and assess program by examining the accomplishment of large groups of students. What we don’t see, and teachers often reflect on this, is the material just below the surface. If we begin by breaking the boulder into smaller and smaller pieces, we reveal the details of the musical composition – the subtleties, the nuances, the complexity.  Ultimately, when we arrive at grains of sand, we have a very complete picture of the boulder – even though it is a boulder no longer.

Formative testing is largely about breaking the boulder of education into grains of accomplishment and by looking with this level of scrutiny, we greatly improve our chance of impacting performance in a positive way. The key is achieving a high degree of granularity while not distracting from our primary task of achieving broad spectrum learning goals. Formative assessment meets this criterion and provides an instructional strategy that not only focuses teachers on viable instructional objectives, but also informs both students and teachers about their progress toward accomplishing the same.  The musical score transcends the subtleties of the dynamic factors of performance by forming the foundation of the presentation. In this way, we have a metaphor for the core structures that Marzano and Waters (2009) propose in the form of nonnegotiable goals. Their reflections on the inadequacy of NCLB and other summative high stakes measures gives way to a formative system of measures aimed at developing a “value added” approach. This is consistent with multiple recent research endeavors including Hatie’s (2009), where formative feedback to teachers regarding their efforts with students yielded the 3rd highest effect rating on overall achievement – approximately d=0.90.

The challenge is not about curriculum, while it is valuable to continue curricular development processes as we currently do. The issue is the creation of common formative assessments that match the curriculum and provide for close scrutiny of granular accomplishment. With Marzano and Waters (2009), we find a proposal for a “value added” approach to education that calls for both horizontal and vertical alignment with a common scale of measurement for formative assessment tools used along the way. Arranged according to topic areas and grade levels, this proposal leads to a comprehensive look at how a curriculum should emerge in the classroom, the way in which we test pre-operationally for its introduction, and the way in which we report developmental progress along a scale toward achievement of that curriculum.

But they may not be going quite far enough in addressing the thousands of small bits that constitute a comprehensive child-centered approach to personal development that also addresses the development of character and emotional intelligence.  Education continues to stare at the boulder and misses this aspect under the surface.  A value added approach may also miss many of the grains of sand by sifting and looking only for the specs of interest.

If we really want to form sand castles, we need to address how all of the sand can be cemented together into the complex structure that is a whole “person.”  While I value assessment as important, it does little to address the complex nature of a child and the nuances of how the the score becomes a performance.


References

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Marzano, R. J., & Waters, T. (2009). District leadership that works: Striking the right balance. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

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Instructional Core

Richard Elmore, in this video clip and with the associated graphic, defines the best measure of how we should judge innovation and change in an organization.  The data that we collect must come from the core if we are to determine with any degree of certainty that these changes have been implemented and whether or not they are sustainable.

High stakes testing does not accomplish this.  Many have now written about test scores and continue to miss the point.  The scores do not inform instruction and lack the “granularity” needed to affect real change.  Teachers do not change based on either initiative nor incentive based reward.  They change, in Daniel Pink’s words, because they want to master their craft, because they have always been an autonomous lot, and because they have a special purpose that stands them apart from other professions – nurturing the progeny of others.  The talents that will change schools are those with unyielding drive that infects these other dimensions powerfully and without hesitation, as in Geoffrey Canada’s work in Harlem.  These efforts will often come from the teachers themselves when they are effectively empowered to be leaders in their own organizations.

But, ultimately, systemic change will only happen when we keep our “eye on the ball” and that means the instructional core.

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Breaking Down Barriers

Below is a video that has had lots of play in the last 4 years since its original posting. It recently resurfaced on YouTube and in a few social network sites.  It’s a powerful story of an autistic youth and overcoming adversity.  It also reinforces the notion of the critical aspect of teacher/student relationship at the center of the instructional core.  In this instance, a coach has a sense of readiness and plays to the makes decisions for the individual.  He struggles with this and even doubts his own actions.  But instinct and experience help him stay the course.  As much as this is a video about student accomplishment, it is also about the subtle and often emotional aspects of the learning process.

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Vindication?

With some degree of glee, I can report to you today that a Judge has finally confirmed what we knew 25 years ago – Washington State does not fully fund basic education:

The state of Washington is not fulfilling its constitutional duty to fully pay for basic public education, a King County judge ruled Thursday.The decision from Superior Court Judge John Erlick came after nearly two months of testimony last fall in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of school districts, parents, teachers and community leaders. They said the state was failing its constitutional duty and leaving school districts to rely on local levies, donations and PTA fundraisers to educate students.

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

So, you might ask – What are they failing to fund?

From my history as a teacher in Washington during the onset of collective bargaining, consistent with my experience as principal in White River Schools, and in connection with my aspirations to the superintendency, here is my list:

  • a litany of unfunded mandates in the form of specialty legislation that has increased bureaucracy in schools to the point of choking leadership and gagging teachers.
  • a definition of basic education under the first lawsuit that was drafted to fit what the legislature wanted to spend rather than as a function of what was required to actually do the job and do it well
  • a stopgap approach to limiting funding of that definition that included a levy lid, and then levy equalization, and then TRI, and then school improvement, and then….. – you get the picture – one bandaid after another that never addressed the core problem with the first definition
  • a regressive tax system that leaves us with little option to address this court decision without completely abandoning the current system in favor of something far more fair and even – something that is unlikely to happen in the current partisan environment

If you are cheering this decision like I am, be aware that our cheers will likely fall  on deaf ears.  First, the decision comes after the legislature has already moved past its self-imposed deadline for bills to come out of committee.  Thus, unlikely to get much more than status quo for this session.  Do I hear “special session” in the wind?

Second, and also likely, there are appeals that will be played out all the way to the State Supreme Court.  Stay tuned. Long road ahead.

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Learning 2.010 has launched!!

Jeff Utecht is being a bit pessimistic with his description of the recently launched third iteration of the Learning 2.0  conference series. Despite his apprehension, there is every reason to believe that this conference will again inspire and direct individuals along the path of creating the next generation of learning practices. Inspired by a collaboration of like-minded individuals in 2008, this conference continues to elicit strong gains in applying technology based practices in real learning environments. We have changed practices through our efforts, and yet we are still struggling with the degree to which that change continues to be hampered by politics and outdated pedagogy.

Thus, we offer the latest iteration of 21st-century thinking and give you the new and improved Learning 2.x. The focus this time will be on research-based practices in providing for sustainability through development of long-term relationships in cohorts of like-minded individuals. Of particular excitement to me is the opportunity to coordinate the leadership strand. Applying theory and leading-edge concepts on school change with a cohort of individuals responsible for implementing that change is an exciting and energizing venture. If everything comes together as planned,  there will be opportunity prior to the conference to build an essential common framework upon which our conversations will emerge. These personal learning networks (PLN) will continue through and beyond the conference and provide a significant foundation for future collaboration and support.

How can you not get excited about something like this?!

Take a look at the website and consider joining us in what ever cohort strikes your fancy. Personally, I hope you will consider the leadership strand. 😉

http://www.learning2.asia/

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