Saturday, May 16, 2009 does work!

Just had a chance to see a great web site with a kick butt ad campaign. To bad it's from Canada and not from here. Maybe if we could ever get all the national disability organizations on the same page we could come up with a campaign like this here in the US.

Please click on the link below and check out the site. You will like it.

No Excuses

Peace Dude!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I think The Indy Star has been reading this blog!

May 10, 2009

A call to action to improve school performance

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett calls the situation facing Indiana's schools urgent. He has ample reason to be alarmed.

When the state last week issued its annual rankings of public schools, nearly half of them landed either on academic probation or the watch list, the two lowest ratings. Two-thirds of school districts were cited for poor performance.

Many educators bristle at the federal government's rating system, largely pegged to standardized test scores. The state model, they say, better reflects reality. Yet, this year the two ranking systems produced similar results.

Bennett, who took office in January, described the poor ratings as a "call to action,'' not just for teachers and students, but for the entire state.

Yet, educators haven't been exactly sipping coffee in the break room while their students slip out the backdoor. Nor have government, business and community leaders ignored the challenges facing schools across the state.

Taxpayers continue to pour tremendous resources into the educational system -- K-12 education is the largest single recipient of state dollars, and that doesn't take into account all of the federal and local tax money devoted to schools. And the pressure on teachers and students to improve has never been more intense.

Not all of the signs are discouraging. The graduation rate is increasing. More students are attaining at least base-level mastery of key skills.

But much more work remains, and Bennett is right when he insists that the entire state must push for better results.

What needs to change? To start, the adults in charge need to find a way to work together. That means cooling the more heated rhetoric, setting aside tired arguments that go nowhere and placing on hold agendas that don't directly contribute to better student achievement.

Hoosiers also need to re-evaluate their priorities. Sports consume outsized portions of money, time and attention in too many districts. Do high school football players really need to compete on artificial turf in multimillion-dollar stadiums? Are Olympic-size swimming pools necessary at a time when districts are eliminating teaching positions?

It's not that sports don't have a proper place in schools; athletics can contribute to an overall climate of excellence and achievement. But too often the pursuit of glory on the field or court has been allowed to push aside striving for excellence in the classroom.

Bennett and others also will have to battle a culture that historically has not placed enough emphasis on education. For decades, one of Indiana's greatest strengths, its manufacturing base, shielded Hoosiers from a growing reality: Without a solid education, workers are unlikely to earn enough money to sustain families.

As manufacturing has eroded, Indiana has been unable to create enough good jobs to keep wages from declining relative to other states. One result of that trend is that the gulf between well-educated workers and those with fewer skills is broadening. The most realistic way for Hoosiers to start catching up is to significantly deepen the skills of is work force. And that must come through better education, starting in early childhood and continuing through college.

Has progress been made? Yes. Is the current state of education acceptable? Not even close.

Urgency is indeed warranted, not just in every classroom but in every home in every community.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

When Pride Still Mattered!

As a kid growing up I lived a pretty good life. I got to spend time with my grandparents who all made good livings that would be hard to accomplish today.

One set of granparents lived in Gary and my Grandfather worked at "The Mill" also know as United States Steel, Gary Works. My grandmother was a stay at home mom. I would visit thier house on 2nd Avenue and never worried about anything. My great grandmother lived around the corner and I could go over there anytime I wanted when I was in town. And sometimes I got to go to Southern IL where by grandfather was from to visit my great grandmother down there and hear stories about my family and the coal mines. You see my grandfather left southern IL when the coal mines slowed down to go to work at "The Mill".

My other granparents lived the American dream in my beloved Deleware County Indiana where the best sweet corn in the world is grown. My grandfather built his house down the road from his parents and he farmed the land with his wife and son's. My Grandmother was also a registered nurse and helped deliver many of her 16 grandkids including me. My grandfather was a tough old man who farmed during the day and worked at the glass factory in town at night. I have no idea when that man slept.

Both set's of grandparents raised thier kids and lived a good life and were able to do many of the things they had wanted and saw both my parents graduate from college. Both my parents have masters degree's and are educators.

As a kid growing up in Yorktown the neighborhood I lived in was nothing fancy but it was nice. It was safe and clean and all the kids had fun. I think back and most of the neighborhood was filled with teachers, small business owners and automobile factory workers. My best friends parents were a GM guy and a registered nurse.

What is my point. I am scratching my head trying to figure our where we have come in the last 25 years and where we are going. And bottom line as I have said before the problem with our country is Wall Street and the goof ball analysts that know nothing about business that have been driving performance based on profit instead of sound business practices.

We can blame it on the politicians, the R's or the D's, they conservatives and the liberals, the unions, the teachers, the universities, the parents, the kids......whatever you want to do......but here is the real's a lack of visionary leadership.....

All we have are a bunch of followers in government doing what ever the party tells them to do.....I love how they blame it on lobbyistst.....well if that was the case we would get things done instead of gridlock based on party lines....this is true at every level of governement from school board the the white house......

It's time for things to change folks.....or maybe I am missing all the opportunities for the middle class today?

Please enlighten me.....and don't bring sorry stories about our education.....we have the smartest people in the world here and we exclude no one from school so get over yourself on that one. And ISTEP was designed with a 40% failure rate so we are gettng the exact results we asked for......let's talk career centers and options other then college as the college dream is not not affordable.

Peace Dude.