Won’t Back Down

Wow-it is a must see movie!  Won’t Back Down effectively paints the struggle between the traditional school system and charter/choice ideologies.  I would alter your schedule and see this movie as soon as possible.  Whether you have children in the American preK-12 school system (or not) you should join the dialogue.  Here are a few good questions to ask your neighbors:
1.  Can the traditional school systems (especially in large urban areas) do what it takes to move the achievement of students to the levels needed for America to preserve its economic positions in the world?
2.  Are teacher unions really as bad as portrayed by this and other movies, e.g. Waiting for Superman?
3.  Why aren’t more parents in an uproar about persistently under-performing schools?
4.  In cases where students who have needs to improve their cognitive capacity (especially students from poverty households or who endure learning disabilities), why aren’t appropriate protocols and practices provided?
With respect to #4 above, you’ve likely seen my previous blog posts on Scientific Learning’s work in helping develop students’ Memory, Attention, Processing, and Sequencing capacity with astonishing results. Why are we denying these resources for our school children?
Go see the movie, you will be very glad you did! But, you might get angry, regardless of the side you argue (for or against) in what remedies we need.
It also made me exceedingly proud of the work of our Distinctive Schools teams at CICS Prairie, CICS Bucktown, CICS West Belden, and CICS Patriots.

Dirty Little Poor Kids?! OMG!

Today one of my clients told me that she just read in a school improvement plan developed and submitted by a school principal that under the category “concerns”  the following:

Due to the increase of free-and-reduced-lunch students, our school has become cleanliness challenged.  We must use more of our budget next year to hire more custodians

I couldn’t believe it!  If the school categorizes poor kids as also dirty little kids, I suspect that they cannot even come close to thinking these same kids can learn and achieve at high levels.

Name of the client and the school district shall be withheld, but I am happy to tell you individually how this district administrator plans to intervene.

For those educators who do get it–and know that all kids can achieve and accomplish big dreams through their schooling, we must confront all bigoted views-especially when the relate to kids.  Bigotry of all sorts may very well exist in every school system in America.  Bigotry must be confronted and preconceived misconceptions must be corrected in order to move all our kids forward.

I debated whether to post this one–but questioned myself, “how could I not”?



2010 Illinois Superintendents Preparation Academy

Applications have been reviewed and later this week, we will announce the two 2010 (inaugural) cohorts of the Illinois Superintendents Academy. Applicants were considered from many school districts and charter schools from all parts of the great state of Illinois. We are excited to reveal the names, and more excited to learn of so many highly talented and committed educators ready for more significant work to support teachers and students. Look for the names on this blog and on the website. JW

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