Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random Thoughts

The news has been full of interesting items and just can't wait any longer or my intellectual thoughts will be to long for anyone to read.

Drove home Monday morning from my mother's house and on Kansas City sports talk radio many of the University of Kansas fans were wanting Coach Bill Self fired for choking in the NCAA tournament. Let's see his record the past two years has been 68-6, 7 consecutive conference titles, 1 national championship. I didn't see him miss a shot as they went 3 for 21 from the 3-point line, 15 for 28 from the free throw line, and his man didn't score a point but the rest of the team failed to guard in the first half. Ok KU fire him and see how long it is before he has another job, I'm guessing minutes. Good Luck to the Final four teams.

I see a cobra escaped from his container in the New York City zoo. Zoo officials feel that the snake is still confined in the reptile house, however, and the zoo is safe. That may well be true but I wouldn't be taking that chance. My advice is if you had a field trip scheduled to the zoo, cancel it, if anyone can find a lost cobra it would be a child.

Libya has been front and center in the news. Our elected officials act like their leader has just become a tyrant, news flash its been that way for decades. Why can't a politician just say we went into Iraq and are helping the rebel forces in Libya because of oil. I don't see us going into any other country with a dictator that doesn't have oil. A question I have though does the leader of Libya spell his last name with a Q or a K. I'm not nearly smart enough to run a country but I can spell my last name and it begins with a G.

How's this for convenience BP has lost its laptop that contained 13,000 names and information for the people that were to get paid from the oil spill. Are you kidding me I have owned a laptop for over 8 years and have yet to lose it. Now just come out and say it we have no intention of paying you people a dime. We will bog you down in paperwork and pester you with having to refile your information in hopes that you will give up. You have had months to figure out how to avoid payment and the best you can come up with is we lost the laptop?

Public workers unions have really been under attack from politicians. Let's see that is mostly police, fireman, and teachers. They usually don't have the power to strike and now several states are removing their collective bargaining rights. Doesn't sound like much of a union to me. I almost wish those legislatures would get mugged, house catch on fire, and home school their kids, and see how quickly they get assistance.

I was going to say something about the Wal-Mart lawsuit but my brain is worn out as well as my fingers, but go plantiffs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Refreshing Change

This past week we had our spring break and we did our usual work around the house and my mom's house at the start of the week. My sister and I had to make the decision about a month ago to put our mom in a nursing home in our hometown. Tough decision.

My wife worked over the weekend so I headed back to mom's house to spend time with her and do some things around the house. I wish I could have gone to EdcampOmaha but being with mom is more important and I'll catch up on the information I missed.

My mom doesn't have the internet at her house and neither does my sister, and you know what I found out? You can live without it. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy checking my blogs, being on twitter, and all the other advantages the internet gives, but I survived without it. My Blackberry kept me as connected as I wanted to be and that wasn't much. My best friend from high school was home and we had several great conversations and of course solved all the world's problems. Our oldest daughter had some time off and spent a few days with us, our youngest daughter had break the week earlier, and it was great to spend time with both of them even if it was separate weeks. My sister and I visited about important issues and took care of some business we needed to. It was a refreshing change not to be connected and to reestablish relationships with people that are important in our lives.

Of course the first thing I did when I got home was to see what I missed out on.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just Get Off Our Backs

I have never written to a politician before this year. In the last two weeks I have written my state representative and state senator five times. I probably should have saved some of these for my blog since I writing from my heart about education.

I am sick and tired of politicians thinking they know more about education than professional educators. Just because someone attended school does not make them qualified to run a school or tell teachers how to instruct children. I've had surgery but I don't pretend to be a surgeon.

In my opinion the state legislature in Kansas has gotten out of control, they lost a lawsuit several years ago in regard to school funding and now it seems they have a vendetta against public education. I realize if the money is not there we will have to take cuts like every other state agency, but to do away with our check and balance system of government is just wrong and in my opinion unconstitutional.

Stay out of the classroom, stay out of administration, and just once think about the effect your decisions are having on kids. In other words get off our backs and let us do our jobs, that is what we are trained for and go back and figure out how to get reelected, that's what you do best.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

I know I know I'm writing my Random Thoughts early this week but when things hit me if I don't respond I'll forget them. You're right that has to do with age.

March is certainly an exciting time of year. Spring football is getting ready to start or has already started at some schools. Is there another sporting event going on in March? Okay the tournaments are exciting. I really enjoy the Mid-Major tournaments, those kids play so hard to get their one chance at going to the NCAA tourney. Unlike the major conferences where you pretty much know what teams will get in, just their seed is in question, no matter how they do in their conference tournament.

Speaking of seedings I'm sure I understand this process. All the so called experts are out with who the #1 seeds will be. Most of those predictions has Duke with #1 seed and they are not even the 1 seed in their conference. How does that work? I have never understood basketball, of course when your body resembles a basketball (if I were an inch shorter I'd be perfectly round) its not an advantage in the sport. Oh well good luck to all the 68 teams, hope its exciting.

The Big 12 released its all conference team and Marcus Morris of the University of Kansas was selected Player of the Year. I know the coaches know way more about this than I but two players were unanimous picks on the all conference team and Morris wasn't one of them, so why wasn't one of those guys Player of the Year?

Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me that Coach Tressel only gets a two game suspension when it comes out that he knew about the players violation. In case you didn't remember the kids got a 5 game suspension. I wonder if they had sold those goods at a family yard sale if they would have gotten in trouble? Just doesn't make sense to me.

Also why do we spend so much time trying to differentiate instruction (which is best for kids) and the tests we take are still standardized.

In Kansas we are to be teaching the new federal Core Standards but taking our state assessments
over the Kansas standards. I realize we shouldn't be teaching to the tests, however, does this make any sense at all? Thats like covering Chapter 10 and the test will be over Chapter 15, see what happens when you have politicians making educational decisions.

Have a great week and weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Business is Our Business

I first fell in love with educational technology when I was a principal of a high school that took on the 1:1 initiative. This is coming from a guy that didn't send an email until 2002 when my daughter moved away to college. You are right I was forced to in order to stay in touch with her. I also found that we had to force staff members to use the technology, but it was so cool to see the kids teaching our teachers what the computers would do.

I still enjoy investigating what is out there and there are just two criteria I use 1) it has to be very user friendly and 2) it has to be free.

As much as I like the new innovations and talking about educational reform I know we are in the people business and schools always will be and no matter what innovations come along, we are about people. Whether its dealing with parents, our support staff, the state department, or the most important commodity we have the kids. When I see them every morning come into our school I forget about twitter, edmodo, or what I've read that morning on my favorite blogs. Lest we never forget what business is our business-just keep this in my mind: Elementary teachers just love their students, secondary teachers just love their discipline, and college professors just love themselves. Have a great week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Random Thoughts

Well I finally have some things to write about as the world of education is again in the news front lines. The Daily Show has had some good takes on what is going on with the public sector, specifically teachers, its good to have someone to laugh at and Jon Stewart is doing us a great job, plus he is so funny. We thought Waiting on Superman was negative, holy smokes what the national media, Bill Gates, Arne Duncan (and he's supposed to be on our side), and the rest of the education experts, are doing to us makes that movie look like it supports public education.

Ok you big boys in Washington D.C. don't threaten a government shutdown unless you're willing to go all the way with it. Doesn't that cry-if I don't get my way I'll take my ball and go home-go ahead and leave. Thats the only way Congress will not hurt the American public is to not meet. What is this about we will only shutdown the non-essential services, hello, if their non-essential why do we have them. I say shut it all down: send the postal workers home, the mint workers, guards at federal prisons, border patrol, homeland security, the whole kit and kaboodle. Instead you want someone to protect the clowns in DC as if we can't function without them.

Charlie Sheen is cracking me up. Okay I've watched all the psychological experts talk about Mr. Sheen and granted would I want him to babysit my children, no, but to say he has deep mental problems I don't agree with. I probably shouldn't admit this but I went to college with about a couple dozen guys that were just like him they were called party animals. Charlie is reliving his college days, is he being responsible, no, is he hurting the other members of his show that are now out of work, yes, is he a role model, hope not. I have a cure take the camera and mike's away and he will not seem so sensational.

Its a shame what happened to BYU's basketball team, but good for the student for being a stand-up kid, good for the university by sticking to their code. I hope he can rejoin the team next year, I think both sides handled themselves with class, instead of two letters short of class which commonly happens in todays world of college athletics.

Good to be back.