NFL Stars NOT

I heard a coach from another neighborhood greeted the parents at the beginning of football season with “I want to start out by saying and hoping that all of you parents agree – that none of your boys are going to play for the NFL”.

Is Race To Nowhere critical of school districts?

I haven’t seen the Race To Nowhere documentary movie, only the trailer.  I worry that the documentary may not be received well by LTISD administrators so I contacted one of the Texas High Schools that recently screened the movie.  This is what the Principle had to say:

We showed the film last night to our community.  It made an impact on every member in the audience (parent, student, teacher, counselor, administrator, school board member).  The film does not ‘bash’ any particular group and ends with action steps for each group.

I am the principal at my campus and felt this was a message that we all needed to hear.  I would be glad to speak to your administration about showing it.  I do not see it as critical in any sense but rather makes us reflect on our profession and philosophies.

Good luck.  Let me know how it works out for you.

What makes a good teacher?

The Science of Great Teaching

In a nutshell, the organization’s (Teach for America) definition of a great teacher is as unassailable as it is unsustainable for mere mortals. According to TFA’s model, highly effective teachers: (1) set high expectations, (2) recruit every child and their family in the endeavor, (3) plan carefully, (4) execute precisely, (5) continuously “increase effectiveness,” and, as if this were not enough, (6) “work relentlessly.”

Measures of Effective Teaching (Suppoted by Bill & Melinda Gates)

Current measures of teaching rarely take into account the full range of what teachers do, or the context in which they teach. The Measures of Effective Teaching project is different. It’s informed by the real work of real teachers in real classrooms. It goes beyond the exclusive use of student assessments as a proxy for effectiveness and, instead, is geared to developing a set of measures that together serve as an accurate indicator of a teacher’s impact on student achievement.

Race To Nowhere


I’m THRILLED that this documentary movie was made which will facilitate a national discussion on the important topic of our education system.   Click the video above, or Go here and watch the trailer!

From their website:

Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Should Johnny Learn to Program?

Points and counter points on whether computer programming should be something all  kids should learn: Should Johnny Learn to Program?

I’m on the  side of no, programming is not a basic skill everyone should learn.  I like this counterpoint:

The giant hole in our workforce isn’t entry level developers who can hash out c code and write a compiler from scratch. It is for people with combined skills who can APPLY encapsulated technology (lots thanks to companies has been encapsulated) to specific domains.

The giant hole in our workforce isn’t entry level developers who can hash out c code and write a compiler from scratch. It is for people with combined skills who can APPLY encapsulated technology (lots thanks to companies has been encapsulated) to specific domains.

Let’s stop trying to train the mass of high school students to become preservation carpenters, and instead make them very good contractors.

My reply:

I would recommend a deeper understanding of computing for the USER.  People don’t have a clue of the very basics of computing.

How many people click on an attachment to save and can never find it again?  People don’t understand the concept of CC vs BCC.  Folks don’t not the difference between  an Operating System, a browser, and a website.  Learning how to program is NOT something everyone should learn.  Phillips is right on the mark in suggesting we adjust the education system to teach application of encapsulated technology.  A good book on the subject is Daniel Pink’s A While New Mind.

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us


As followup to Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, Drive reveals surprising conclusions to what REALLY motivates people.  Daniel is a great speaker.  This presentation is a preview to his new book:

From Daniel’s website:

Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Daniel 19 minutes preview to his book Embedded below: