Goal for the 15-16 School Year

Summer went by fast but with every beginning there must also be an end. The summer has ended and with it my self-imposed break from social media. While I strive to be as connected as possible, the summer was a time for me to be connected with the people that I hold most dear, my family. In order for me to be truly with them, I made the conscious decision to not be connected in blogging and on other social media platforms.

This week marks the return of students to Michigan schools. It also marks the beginning of a new school years’ goals. The primary goal that I am setting forth for myself this year is to be more informed. To accomplish this goal my intention is two-fold; first, I intend to read one article per school day. This may take the form of an online article or in one of the journals that I receive. The second fold of the goal is to reflect on that reading by posting a blog entry per week. My hope is that I can accomplish this before Sunday of each week, but alas, the weekend will likely be used at times to catch up.

The articles and thoughts on those articles will be posted to my Michigan Education Issues website as well throughout the year.

Here are the articles I read this week:

Tuesday: Bills reveal Snyder’s Plan Schools Plan: Increased Oversight

Governor Snyder plans on addressing the needs of under performing and financially stressed districts with the hiring of additional layers of bureaucracy. To address the needs of “failing” districts, he is proposing legislation that would “education managers” that would have universal control over both traditional public as well as charter schools that are deemed to be part of empowerment zones.

My personal thoughts on this are that a government appointed official that is appointed, not hired, by Lansing to be the CEO and superintendent of a school district is not the answer for struggling schools. Until we examine the reasons why schools (and students) are struggling and work to provide support in those areas, schools will continue to fail. Additional oversight is not a step in the right direction, but rather an attempt to do something, be it misguided.

Wednesday: Late Again?

Insightful article written by a college professor about what motivates students to show up on time for class. The author reveals that gimmicks do not carry much weight with students and that public shaming has a larger effect. This flies a bit in the face of convention as educators are geared more toward nurturing than shaming of students. Another big takeaway is that students want to be engaged and not lectured to, a trend that has been developing more and more in my time in education.

Thursday: Memorizing is out, thinking like a scientist is in 

This Detroit Free Press article focused on the new Michigan Science Standards. Though there is some resistance about the new standards, in the same vein as the Common Core State Standards and in the name of a loss of local control, there are many positives pointed out by the author. The article recognizes the importance of the need for standards that require students to take the lead in their own learning rather than memorizing or following step-by-step instructions. The PROCESS of critical thinking is more important than perfection in the end product.

Friday: A Referee’s Take on Blown Calls, Game Control and Fans’ Misconceptions

This Sports Illustrated article from December of 2014 was passed along to me at an MHSAA Athletic Director’s Update meeting. The article provides clever insight from a high ranking hockey official about the role of referees in athletics. The major point of the article was that referees cannot control a game, but rather they only make calls when the play falls outside the rules of the game. The responsibility of control in a game falls on the players, coaches, and parents. This is an important lesson for coaches, players, and parents as it puts the emphasis on them to control and learn from their actions rather than assigning blame to the officials.

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One response to “Goal for the 15-16 School Year

  1. Pingback: Too Much Power is a Bad Thing | Reflections in the Education Pool

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