It’s all about the Benjamins baby.

Recently I heard a talk from Ron Suskind. In his discussion, he spoke of a conversation he had with a Wall Street executive. He asked this executive, “What’s your problem with Elizabeth Warren? Mostly she just wants to restore Roosevelt to Regan Regulation, pretty much off the shelf stuff, to be head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It’s consumer education. It’s anti-fraud. You guys are not officially in favor of fraud, as far as I know…”

A very basic and straight forward question, regardless if you believe that is all she was going to do at the CFPB. However, the response was much more telling and surprising to me. The executive responded by stating:

Oh no, it’s not that, it’s not that. It’s about a definition of public service. If Elizabeth Warren is permitted to breathe into life the Consumer Financial Products Bureau, breathe it into life from her Harvard Office and then step atop of it, to essentially have a battleship that she runs to face the Wall Street fleet, what it will do is it will change people’s perception of public service. They won’t simply be saying, “Ok, I’ve done my turn and when do I get my lobbying job,” or essentially when do I get paid ten times my salary to unwind the regulations I just put in place. If she gets that job, she will be replicated by 10,000 and there will be people who won’t take the money. They will say my purpose, my notion of worth, is bigger than that. And if that happens, well, the financial crisis he said would have created one true innovation, a rock star regulator, and then we are in big trouble.

Immediately it reminded me of the fight over the Secretary of Education spot in the Obama Administration. Linda Darling-Hammond was thought to be the leading candidate for the position, that was until there was pressure by many educational reform organizations and testing services to block her nomination. The above story sounded too close to home.

Is there a correlation? I don’t know. What I do know is that if she had ascended to the position, the power shift that schools have had out of the classrooms, away from teachers and into the hands of central administrators who are only concerned with data results and standardized tests, would have been slowed or reversed. She would not have handed over the keys to education to private companies to profit from and the savings would have been put back into the education of the students.

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News I find…

Linda Darling-Hammond

Image by tbfurman via Flickr

In my travels I come across articles that I find interesting. In the past I have just posted them to my Facebook to share with the world. While I will continue to do this, I am going to move the more education focused ones to here. Plus, I have a sister-in-law who demands twitter posts for these articles and WordPress was kind enough to auto post there since I seem to lack the capabilities to understand twitter. (I know, unconscionable for someone as young as I am.)

Well, here is one article I found. At the Washington Post they have two competing education blogs; the Answer Sheet by Valarie Strauss and one by Jay Mathews. I tend to lean towards Strauss and as for Mathews, I disagree with many of his ideals but every now and then will give him a look to see how the other side lives.

Good thing I checked him out recently. He wrote an article which I hope will be the first steps in a reevaluation of his beliefs similar to what Diane Ravitch when through before The Death and Life of the Great American School. Mathews has never been a fan of Linda Darling-Hammond as he will say but he does admit success when he sees it. (Which is why I still read him. He is reasonable and thoughtful, even when I completely disagree with his ideas.)

So I encourage all of you to check out his article: Alma mater’s improvements knock me sideways.

The Godmother of Education

I linked this video as my first post but I feel it needs to be addressed again. This quick ten minute video is a MUST watch for everyone, no matter their background. It needs to be shared and pushed more by all of us to all of our friends and family. Its TEN (10) minutes. If you can’t spare that much time, you might be putting too much on your plate.

However, after you have watched this quick ten minute video and you feel like you need more, maybe a plan of action, then plan out a couple hours to watch her extended talk at the Chautauqua Institution for Fora.tv. In this video she details the current trends in education and solutions we must take to overcome our disparities. I have tried my best to change what I do in my classroom towards these solutions and so far I have found great success and have only seen the results increase.

Linda Darling-Hammond: The Flat World and Education

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Linda Darling-Hammond: The Flat World and Education from Chautauqua Institution on FORA.tv

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The State of the Public Schools

Recently I have been trying to piece together my educational ideology. I remember doing a couple of these for education classes. Unfortunately they were all from before I had even set foot into a classroom.

Reflecting back on my education it still astounds me that the most important part of becoming a teacher, the class time, is reserved until the last semesters. Nevertheless, I came across one of my old educational philosophies the other day. Curious, I read the grade I received, a B, then proceeded to see what ideas I had come up with. After getting a third of the way through and reading far too many power words and popular theories that I was sprinkling throughout the paper, I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore and placed the document in the trash can.

My curiosity didn’t subside however. I sat back trying to think of what my educational ideology was and ended up in an argument with myself. What I found was a broad scattering of ideals and theories, but little in the way of a weaving pattern that complimented each other. I realized that I needed to nail down my own belief systems on education into something tangible. I needed to bring together all of the experts, research studies, books and theories that I had been collecting all these years and see what bigger narrative I had.

What I found was that there are four main influences to my educational ideology. These different aspects come from a variety of sources and in the future I hope to share them and their authors with all of you. But to begin with, next post I will mention yet again the greatest influence I have ever come across as a teacher: Linda Darling-Hammond.

If you comment the blog, please rate/share the blog. If you like the blog, please subscribe. As always this is Joshua Murphy and I am out.

Structure of this site for now.

I have been thinking about how I want this blog to look and feel and what I want it to portray. While I am far from set on these ideas, I feel as though I have come up with a beginning. Just like the leaf structure above, these ideas are chaotic and constantly changing direction.

First, I am currently learning the differences between categories and tags and realizing that both are rather pointless but of the two categories are more useful for broad based organization. I follow a number of blogs, vlogs, YouTube stars and online video and podcasting organizations and from these I have begun to mine them for what I believe has made them successful. One of the primary features I have seen that has brought them all success was this idea of categorization. One of my favorite contributors is a video game blogger named TryHardNinja who posts game clips with commentary on YouTube. He would make series in relation to his different games. Another is Christian Belt who writes a blog called Arcane Brilliance and has a number of major themes he focuses around.

With that I have decided on keeping this experiment to 4 categories for now but I am open to any and all suggestions. The categories or series I will be focusing on are: Controversial Educational Issues, Education Policy, Educational Technology and My Teaching Experiences.

Controversial Educational Issues will come from a number of places such as major headlines in the news, changes to curriculum, books and lesson ideas I come across and hopefully suggestions from those who follow this. Just to give a couple examples of topics I may cover, here is a sampling:

  • Is It Time for National Standards in Education?
  • Have Charter Schools Fulfilled Their Promises?
  • Can Large High Schools Provide a Quality Education?
  • Should Students Have the Right to Lead Prayers at Public School Events?

My attempt in this is to create a discussion on these topics to get a wide range of ideas and perspectives. For these I hope the comments stimulate positive discussions and better understanding of the opposing views.

Education Policy will focus on the ideas and theories from education experts, and some unexpected sources, that I have found to be very meaningful and that are pushing us in the right direction. Some of these are from people like Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Ken Robinson and Edutopia. The goal is to give my evaluation of these theories based on practical application. I will comment on them for their strengths and weaknesses. I have a growing list of lectures and other media revolving around this but every day I find new resources and I am always looking for more. I will be counting on the suggestions of other to find these great ideas.

Education Technology is the byproduct of my growing hate of podcasts and other movements of this field to saturate the classroom with every new fad, from SmartBoards to iPads to Twitter accounts. Just because the technology is out there doesn’t mean it has to be used in every school and every subject. Also, I have found few resources out there for the every day teacher in the average school with limited technological opportunities to still be able to implement effectively a couple items into their classroom. I will use this space to discuss my views on iPad apps, the iPad itself, class websites, computer programs and other techy things that pass by me.

Teaching Experiences. This is where I just rant about the things I observe or have learned from teaching. If I find a new idea that works or one that fails, I have a place to let it all out. If there is something I want to discuss but it doesn’t really fit into the previous topics, here is where I plan to toss it. If I get a question or comment that brings up new ideas, I have a place to discuss it. This is the Potpourri of my blog.

Second, I plan to also extend an idea that some of my peers and I came up with. We started a conversation salon to discuss these same issues but with the requirements of work and family, scheduling became a nightmare. So my plan is to return to these same people and hopefully tap them as guest bloggers and contributors to this undertaking. Who knows if they will even be interested or if this will even be a success but I’m giving it a try nonetheless.

So it begins…

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No fireworks, no red ribbon cutting, no parade. Everything needs a first step so here is mine.

I start of with what and who has made the most sense to me. Linda Darling-Hammond may have the most valid resume in the education debate and Edutopia took the time to try and summarize the meat of her extensive ideology into a 10 min clip. For most interested or invested into the success of education, she is a must watch. Find her video @ http://youtu.be/AQNUqVYJofE.