Saturday, July 21, 2012

Are You Really Ready for College?

Are You Really Ready for College by Dr. Robert Neuman

Our guest, Dr. Robert Neuman, states that, “Learning is a process and a complicated process.”

I agree and disagree with that.

I agree that learning is a process, which is a series of steps taken to achieve a goal or end result.

The definition of complicated is complex, confused or difficult.

Given that definition, I wholeheartedly disagree that it is a complicated process.  If it were complicated we wouldn’t do it naturally and young children wouldn’t do it naturally.  It’s only complex, confused and difficult when something gets in the way of the natural process.

There are seven Barriers to Learning that parents and teachers trip over when educating their children.

One of these is Absent Definitions and Misunderstood Words and/or Symbols.

Want to know more about the Seven Barriers to Learning?  Go to

Hear more from Dr. Neuman at

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Groups Urge Balance Between Censoring and Stopping Bullies

Groups Urge Balance Between Censoring, Stopping Bullies
Education Week May 22, 2012

“Unless it causes a substantial disruption, it’s important for administrators not to overreact by simply trying to censor the speech of a student.”  Schools are a training ground for teaching student to live in a democratic society, one where censorship isn’t the first reaction to offensive speech.

“We want a respectful exchange of ideas.  Schools should sincerely work on that – teaching students to express views without hurting people.”  Blocking students’ ability to express themselves could backfire with students taking more drastic action in response.

“People in our society do not have a legal right to prevent criticism of their beliefs or even their way of life,” a judge wrote.

The above is a wonderful and precise way to express my views on the subject of bullying.  It seems to me that as soon as someone disagrees with another’s point-of-view or criticizes it, the speaker is immediately labeled as a bully.

That’s not always true and that label is being used too freely these days.  The judge’s pronouncement above helps me to differentiate between expressing one’s views and beliefs, and bullying.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is the Traditional School Schedule Outmoded?

Is the Traditional School Schedule Outmoded?

Education Week Teaching Ahead blog  June 21, 2012

How do you think schools can maximize what time they do have with students?  How might teachers’ time be structured differently to achieve better results for students?  Is the traditional six-hour day/ 180-day year still the most viable or productive student schedule?

There are countless options for restructuring “school time” that have yet to be explored.  What do you imagine the school “day” or “year” could look like in the future?

I’m so glad that we’re finally asking these types of questions and really examining how we’re preparing our children to be productive members of the world society.

Our current structure for teaching children was born in the days of the industrial revolution where everything was done on a production line according to a set schedule, and all the products had to be the same.  Our society is no longer in the industrial revolution, why is our method of schooling still stuck there?

It’s unfortunate that it has taken this long to finally come to this discussion; and unfortunate for all of the children who have endured their tradition-bound schooling for the past decades.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why Charter Schools Work

Why Charter Schools Work by Deborah Kenny
from the Wall St. Journal, June 25, 2012

Accountability for results and freedom from union rules attract the best teachers into the profession.

Charters succeed because of their two defining characteristics – accountability and freedom.  In exchange for being held accountable for student achievement results, charter schools are generally free from bureaucratic and union rules that prevent principals from hiring, firing or evaluating their own teams.

Accountability attracts the best teachers into the profession.  Smart, driven people want to work in a place that holds them accountable, where they’ll work alongside educators who share their values – first among them, a belief that all children can learn at a high level.  It’s exciting to work with talented colleagues who believe enough in their own abilities that they are willing to be held accountable for student learning outcomes.

Every school in this country can and must be filled with teachers like that.  When the union and political forces that are protecting the status quo finally come around to doing what’s best for children, they will find that it is also what’s best for the majority of teachers.  Then we will see the best and brightest minds competing for the privilege of working in the teaching profession – a profession that will finally be elevated to its rightful place as the noblest in our nation.

I think Deborah Kenny writes a very lucid explanation as to why Charter Schools are superior to public schools.  She makes an excellent point when she says, “Accountability attracts the best teachers into the profession.  . . . talented colleagues who believe enough in their own abilities that they are willing to be held accountable for student learning outcomes.”

When we finally give schools the freedom from bureaucratic and union rules, is when we will finally have the “best and brightest minds competing for the privilege of working in the teaching profession.”  That day cannot come soon enough.