Tag Archives: athletics

Ming’s Musings: 10/5-10/9

Monday: Duggan steps into the breach to save Detroit schools

Article touches upon the mayor of Detroit’s plan to do his part in helping Detroit schools. I like the approach that he expresses in that he will lobby for the schools but will not take them over; he will leave that in the hands of people better qualified to run the schools. I also like that he recognizes that Detroit is a powerful test subject and that if we can get things right with DPS then we can apply those same principles to other struggling school districts. The part that I am not on board with is written between the lines. I am not in favor of legislation that would require other areas around the state to pay for the debts created by the EAA and DPS.

Tuesday: How much do big education nonprofits pay their bosses? Quite a bit, it turns out.

This article questions the tax exempt status of major testing corporations such as those responsible for the SAT and the ACT and the overall salary of the top executives. The numbers are eye-opening though, especially in light of the big state contracts that these companies have and the pseudo-monopoly they have in the college admissions process.

Wednesday: We must despise our kids: Our ugly war on teachers must end now

13% of teachers leave the job field every year. Why, you might ask? The rise of charters, the elimination of collective bargaining, and the constant denigration of being failures has turned a once noble profession to one of attrition and defensiveness. The author of the article points to the above examples as reasons why the profession is losing its workforce and warns that reformers are doing more harm than good which we may not see the result of until these children are older.

It is a sad state of affairs, but the author has hit some points that resonate with me. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t had some tough, demoralizing days in my career that have made me question staying in the profession. The most difficult part is not necessarily financial, however, it is that the acts of the “reformers” have create this stigma around education that has eroded the once strong trust relationship between teachers and parents; a relationship that used to bridge the education of a student from school to home.

Thursday: Feeding and Fertilizing School Athletics

This article was written by the head of the MHSAA, Jack Roberts, and focuses on the importance of expanding opportunities for middle school athletics in order to interscholastic athletics to be successful. The article focuses on two major premises; that 6th graders should be permitted to participate in school sports and that we need to lift the cap on the number of contests permitted at the middle school level. These two factors will help to keep interscholastic sports competitive with outside clubs and groups.

I agree with the authors thoughts on the matter and am concerned about one particular set of comments that had the message that some school administrators believe sports take away from already limited resources. As an assistant principal and athletic director I see everyday, firsthand, the influence of sports on education. Many of the students that roam the halls of my school do so during the day because they know that they won’t be permitted to play their sports if they don’t. Sports teach important lessons about life that cannot be learned elsewhere and having a school-based system ensures that athletics remain educational.

Friday: Bill would get retired teachers back in the classroom

Proposed legislation in both the House and the Senate would allow for the return of retirees to the classroom without hurting their benefits and the hiring of non-certified teachers in areas of need.

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, there is a very real shortage of teachers in many areas of need and ultimately students lose in this scenario. On the other hand, bringing back retirees brings up a different problem, a generation difference that is exacerbated by the increased demands of today’s teachers. In most other professions, if you have a specialized job that has a limited applicant pool, employers will incentivize the position to make it more attractive. This is where education may be missing the mark. Pardon my crassness, but recycling retired teachers does not solve the long-term need.

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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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Multi-Sport Athletes: Good for now, good for the future

I’m an assistant principal and an athletic director. Before that I was a teacher and a coach. Before that I was a multi-sport athlete. My best sport was soccer, but I played basketball and baseball and even gave track a try one year. I bring this up to emphasize the importance of being more than just one thing. In my day-to-day job I work two full-time positions that are very different from one another. The experience that I gained as a multi-sport athlete in high school helped me to develop into the type of person that could handle multiple roles simultaneously.

multisportThe tweets above really caught my attention for a couple of reasons. As the AD of a small school, the vast majority of the athletes in my building are multi-sport athletes; they have to be for our programs to survive. While every one of those athletes has a “best” sport, it is the act of participating in a variety of activities that creates the well-rounded competitors that we have. The tweets above also clearly make the point that participating in multiple sports does not detract from being able to EXCEL in one as is the point that I hear made by some athletes.

Athletics teach lessons that cannot be learned from any book. Coaches provide structure and guidance to student-athletes and help shape them into the men and women that they will become. It is important that we as educators prepare our students for roles that may not yet be determined. While it is important to be really good at something in the work force, it is also valuable to be flexible and competent in many different areas. We should encourage our sons/daughters/grandchildren/etc. to participate in a number of activities and create a well-rounded future adult. I’ve certainly experienced this first hand and as a parent have put it into practice with my own daughters who are in both gymnastics and soccer.

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