Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Monday, April 20, 2009

This I Believe: a valuable educational project

A few years ago I wrote an essay for "THIS I BELIEVE" a program inspired by Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe series from the 1950s. My essay, lets my neighbors know what I believe in, and by sharing our philosophy of life we begin to understand our social environment, but the process of declaring publicly your beliefs is an enlightening journey of self-discovery.

The Focus On Change in Education: K-12, started by the La Jolla Democratic Club, is exploring new methods of solving the problems of public education. The Dropout Crisis is one such problem, and this group has identified Middle School as a critical point in which children choose the direction they will follow. If Eighth-Graders are encouraged to take on the project of defining their personal philosophy, then their identity can be channeled into positive growth, rather than floundering on the waves of despair in an indifferent world.

The THIS I BELIEVE project is now off the air, but their web site will persist and I encourage you to take the time to contribute an essay for their archive. But the most important I want to communicate to those educators out there is that this project will continue to support educators with tools for bringing This I Believe into the classroom. They provide free downloadable curricula for middle school, high school, and college educators so they may share this essay-writing assignment with their students.

Please Join our SOCIAL NETWORK at

Saturday, April 18, 2009


On Tuesday night, the San Diego School Board took action to save our schools in the midst of a $147 million budget shortfall for next year.

We will not lay off teachers to balance the budget.

We will get our fair share of the federal stimulus dollars.
We will look at cuts with the least direct effect on children's education. This is a strong challenge to the status quo and means a thorough look at what is essential and non-essential.

Yes, education is under funded, but we are still going to get the most out of available dollars.

Three principles that the Board has agreed to:

1) Cuts must be as far away from the classroom and school site as possible. We have already given priority to funding school sites over central administration.

2) Our teachers and support staff form our most valuable resource and we depend upon them for the success of our schools.

3) Any employee sacrifices will be shared by all, from the top to the bottom of the organization.


Attend our Town Hall Forum on how to save our public schools. We will invite all San Diego area legislators to meet with us and hear our concerns. Come show your support for San Diego schools. This is for everyone in the community who believes our city needs a great school system.

Where: Kearny High School, 7651 Wellington Way, San Diego CA 92111 (Near Mesa College)
When: Thursday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.

Contact Carol Hunter to join our contingent of progressive school supporters for this town hall at:

Thank you for your support,

John Lee Evans, Trustee
San Diego City Schools

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Intrinsic Incentive: Three Solutions from Edutopia

Hi, Everyone,

We visit a lot of schools where empirical evidence joyfully refutes the oft-heard contention that public education is imploding. Admittedly, because we seek out what works in public education, we see fewer schools in crisis. But what we do notice is one common denominator that explains the presence of bright, curious, engaged children in any classroom: motivated, energetic teachers creating learning environments where students thrive because they are given the opportunity to care about what they're doing. Each of the three schools we highlight below fosters, in its own way, an enthusiasm about learning for learning's sake. Drop in for a look.

-- David Markus
Editorial Director, Edutopia

Multiple Intelligences Leave No Child Behind
Edutopia revisits Indianapolis's Key Learning Community.

Immigrant Students Aim for College
A Texas high school on the Mexican border settles for nothing less than success.

Project Learning Creates a Win-Win Situation
Students' project presentations drive greater motivation and achievement.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I have a partial solution to the immigration problem.

The so called "DREAM ACT" gives amnesty to the undocumented children of illegal immigrants, who have shown academic promise, and allows them to go to college in the United States. The unjust action of their parents have put them in the position to be deported right when they are about to qualify to go to a US University, but can't apply without legal status.

I have a solution, for those willing to listen.

Create the American University: in partnership with any willing country. Use a 9 square mile parcel of unused land in their country of origin.

  • The US will create a $1-billion endowment for each university. $100-million will be used to build the school, in the center square mile of the parcel, using 1/2 local contractors and 1/2 American Workers. 
  • These Universities would be under US Military Protection, and include an airport. 
  • They would use Sustainable Energy and Architecture, grow their own food on campus using Permaculture, and have a Teaching Hospital. 
  • They would take 1/2 of their students from the USA, and 1/2 from the home country. Any undocumented kids here in the USA would get a full scholarship if they have the potential. 
  • 1/2 the teachers would be from the USA, 1/2 from the other country. 
  • They could create economic trade zones around the campus. This would create opportunities for both nations, solve the immigration problem, broaden American's understanding and interaction with the world, and return educated minds back to the countries that need them most. 
  • And would cost the USA less than $300-Billion world wide, and we would probably recoup that in income taxes. 

More importantly, it would create understanding and relationships between peoples, and spread the ideals of American Justice, Democracy and Economics world wide. Thus exporting our true value to the rest of the world.

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mercenary Education produces Mercenaries

We have made education, as has no doubt been noted before, mercenary in nature. Students buy their success by performing specific tasks. Accordingly, learning has effectively been stripped of both its beauty and its intrinsic value. Standardized testing, high-stakes examinations, and quarterly grades all detract from what we should be pursuing in schools. They train students (and their parents) to believe that education is nothing more than a purchasable reward. Thus, the teacher, who rightly recoils when asked if such-and-such an assignment is worthy of credit, has no line of defense. Even the most well-intentioned and high-minded appeal to the intellect is reduced to utter pontification. The villainy taught has been executed, and they, the students, have indeed bettered the instruction.

Eliminating our present evaluative system would do much to reverse the suffocating climate in many of our schools. This change requires neither an exceptional degree of innovative thinking nor a supplementary allocation of funding. What it does demand, however, is the recognition that the process of learning is intangible and immeasurable. When we attempt to quantify that which is unquantifiable, we destroy.

Education as Ritual
Uncovering Standardization's Depths

By Christian M. Bednar

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stimulus Package gives Direction to Education

Breaking News: From Education Week
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan just announced how states and school districts can begin receiving the first installment of education stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
Read the full story. is hosting an Open House through April 8, so you can get this type of breaking news and access to all of the vital coverage posted recently on the stimulus. Some highlights you won't want to miss while access is totally FREE:

States Eye Education Stimulus to Fill Budget Gaps
Local officials are crying ‘foul’ as a growing number of governors make a play for federal economic-stimulus aid for schools.

Stimulus Providing Big Funding Boost for Early Childhood
Advocates are betting that the billions of dollars for programs like Head Start are just a “down payment” on future expansion.

K-12 Taking Primacy in Use of Stimulus Dollars
Many states are targeting the new education aid at elementary and secondary schools, rather than toward higher education.

Exclusive Video Interview: Duncan on States That Reject Stimulus Money
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talked with Education Week about the stimulus, school reform, teacher issues, and his pick for deputy.

For complete coverage and to keep fully up-to-the-minute, visit our Schools and the Stimulus page. Stay easily updated on all of the stimulus news: download the Stimulus widget and place it on your Web site, blog, Facebook page, or other personal page. Or get the RSS feed on the stimulus.

In addition to providing you with the best, most breaking coverage on the stimulus and other education issues, there are many ways to interact with Education Week and your colleagues via live events, webinars, chats, and online discussions.

Live Events: Education Week Leadership Forums
Powering Through the Recession: Strategies to Help District Leaders Navigate the Downturn and Tap Into Incentive and Stimulus Funding

Join top school leaders—including Joel Klein, Ramon Cortines, Arlene Ackerman, Carlos Garcia, Paul Vallas, and others—for a daylong, hands-on event that will help you make the most out of the stimulus and minimize the impact of the recession on staff and students.
Sign up now to get the special recession-busting early-bird rate—up to $200 savings!
Two dates and places to choose from:
May 11, 2009, Jersey City, NJ
May 15, 2009, Newport Beach, CA

Review the recent webinars and chats on the stimulus topic, and find other archived webinars of interest to you.

In addition to digging into the stimulus, you should also visit our annual report on how well states are incorporating technology into their schools, Technology Counts 2009: Breaking Away From Tradition: E-Education Expands Opportunities for Raising Achievement. Read about the latest research on e-education, find out how to search the internet for quality content, see how your state compares nationally, and download your state report.

During the Spring Open House, all articles are available FREE. You'll see what premium subscribers see every day -- breaking news from around the country PLUS an extensive archive of K-12 education coverage spanning more than 25 years. Whether you are interested in getting a great perspective on topics like curriculum, special education or accountability, or you are researching a specific hot-button issue, you will find it all easily in our archives. You can even review current and past annual reports from Quality Counts, Technology Counts and Diplomas Count.

But don't wait! The Open House ends next Wednesday, April 8.

If you are like other top educators, you will need more continued, unrestricted access to once the Open House ends. Get started now with a 4-week free trial of print and online access.

So stop in and visit the Open House today. Check out the breaking news on the stimulus and all of the other great coverage and pass the word along to your colleagues.

Stimulus coverage sponsor: VariQuest Visual Learning Tools

Technology Counts online sponsor: CDW-G

Leadership Forum Sponsors:
Platinum Sponsor:

Blackboard, Inc.
Gold Sponsors:
SMART Technologies
CTB / McGraw Hill< A>
Cambium Learning
Lexia Learning
School Messenger

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Education Week Leadership Forum, May 15th

Dear Education Leader:

It's clear that the president's economic stimulus will not be a silver bullet for the education-budget woes of California and other Western states. As a district leader, you not only need to know the ins and outs of the stimulus legislation, you need to find ways to identify and maximize other, less-well-known funding sources.

That’s why you should attend “Powering through the Recession: Strategies for District Leaders to Keep Achievement on Track,” the elite Education Week Leadership Forum being held on May 15, 2009 in Newport Beach, CA.

Reserve your spot today and take advantage of recession-buster savings. You get 40% off ($200!) the on-site rate if you register by April 20th!

Education Week Leadership Forums are intimate, highly interactive gatherings of top-level colleagues and other K-12 experts. Seize your chance to learn valuable best practices from experienced school leaders who have successfully powered through past recessions and those with bold new ideas, including these confirmed speakers:

  • Ramon C. Cortines, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Carlos Garcia, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
  • Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools
  • Marguerite Roza, Research Associate Professor, College of Education, University of Washington
  • James R. Carlson, President, Educator Compensation Institute
  • Lawrence O. Picus, Professor, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Expand your knowledge base and your range of contacts at these sessions:

  1. Leveraging the Stimulus: How to Turn One-Time Federal Stimulus Dollars Into Lasting Benefits
  2. The Fierce Urgency of Recession: How and What to Cut
  3. Walk the Line: Maximizing Human Capital
  4. Tapping Fresh Wells: Identifying And Establishing Enduring Streams Of Outside Funding
  5. Interactive discussions with other top education leaders from around the country

Learn more about our engaging agenda

Panelist Highlight:
Los Angeles schools Superintendent, Ramon Cortines, ran school systems on both coasts, including New York City and San Francisco, before being selected as head of the nation's second-largest school district. Known for his steady hand in turbulent times, Mr. Cortines will be speaking on "Leveraging the Stimulus: How to Turn One-Time Federal Stimulus Dollars into Lasting Benefits" at our Leadership Forum in Newport Beach.

Register today to assure your place at the table for this premiere event. Remember, you’ll save $200 off the on-site registration rate of $495 when you reserve your spot before the April 20th deadline. Time is running out!

Marriott Newport Beach is conveniently located near Long Beach Airport and Los Angeles Airport. A reduced room rate of $189 plus tax per night has been negotiated for the Forum attendees wishing to stay overnight.

Please plan to join us on May 15. I look forward to seeing you there.

Virginia B. Edwards
Editor and Publisher, Education Week

P.S. If you are unable to attend our Newport Beach event, we will also be hosting a similar Education Week Leadership Forum in Jersey City, NJ on May 11, 2009.