Thursday, January 22, 2015

Problems Seen and Problems Solved

          American public schools can be described in some very large numbers:

100,000 schools

3,700,000 teachers

55,000,000 students

700,000,000,000 dollars

       Yipes!  Those are certainly huge numbers.  Of course, the United States is a big county of over 300 million people.  When we talk about any "system" in the United States, we are going to use some very big numbers.  And sometimes big numbers can make it seem as if the problems with our educational system are too big for us to solve.  But there is no such thing as a problem that is too big to solve.

       At one time in America it seemed ridiculous that women would ever get the right to vote.  At one time it seemed impossible that man would ever walk on the moon.  Separating our garbage into plastic and paper items in one spot and everything else in another spot was unheard of.  Smoking cigarettes used to be common in restaurants and offices.  And in our schools, it used to be practically impossible for students receiving Special Education services to sit in regular "mainstream" classrooms.

       All of these problems weren't even viewed as problems by most of our society at one point.  But then we recognized the problems and we changed public opinion about the problems and we took steps to address the problems.

       Our public schools take steps to improve the lives of all of our students everyday.  We all play a large part in our large system by finding ways to solve problems one student at a time; one problem at a time; one school at a time.

       Nothing is impossible.  Every problem has a solution.  Strong, dedicated professionals in our schools are problem solvers--everyday.

       Be a problem solver!

Friday, January 9, 2015

college and CAREER


       Our schools have picked up the catch phrase "College and Career" a lot over the past few years.  But the words that come after this phrase seem to (more often than not) have a lot more to do with "college" and a lot less to do with "career".  

       Of course it is important for our P-12 schools to prepare students for college.  But our most important responsibility is to prepare students to be responsible and productive citizens.  For some students, that means beginning a career soon after high school.  In the school systems where I have worked, we have taken this responsibility very seriously.  We have a separate school building that is our Career and Technology Center (CTC).  Students spend part of their school day at their regular, comprehensive high school and the rest of their day at the CTC.  This school holds classes that teach students trades and prepare them for certification requirements in these various trades.  We also have courses and programs in our regular comprehensive schools that give our students some initial training and learning in various fields.

       College is important more today than it has ever been in the future.  But we know that college isn't for everybody.  I'm glad our public schools have continued their traditions of finding ways to prepare all students for their futures; whether they may college or CAREER.


Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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