Education

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The Street Stops Here


This is the best movie I have ever seen.

It's about a basketball team in the inner city of Jersey. The school is a financial mess. They don't have a gym. The kids come from broken homes.

And they have won 23 state championships in 30 years.

If you care about education, you want to watch this movie. If you are a coach, you want to watch this movie. If you are an athlete, you want to watch this movie. If you are a human being, you want to watch this movie.

If you think miracles don't happen anymore, you must never have watched this movie. Buy it (proceeds benefit their school), watch it, and then tell other people about it. The movie website is http://www.thestreetstopsheremovie.com/

My favorite quote: “I seem more annoyed at your failure than you do.”

American Education is the next GM

Photo: Ted Fines

GM went bankrupt because they cared more about themselves than about their customers. Their primary focus was no longer on developing great cars. Their primary focus was on getting paid. So the Executives decided to invest their future in gas-guzzling SUV’s, and the unions demanded higher pay for less work. There was a strong sense of entitlement, they sought profit without production, and they wanted more money for less work. This will bankrupt you every time.

American Education is the next GM, and it is going to go bankrupt (unless something changes) for the exact same reason: because the people working in the company have an unconquerable sense of entitlement. American Education is a “company” filled with people who are seeking profit without production. I already told you what this causes. Read more »

I would rather prove myself wrong than wonder if I could have been right

Whenever I am trying to improve a situation, I am faced with a choice: do I continue doing the same thing that is currently producing mediocre results with the hope that it will eventually pay off, or do I try something that could be unfavorable but also has the potential to be incredibly beneficial?

I am always trying to improve things, whether it is my class, my school, or lately, my own life. With the help of a friend on a canoe trip, we conjured up a phrase that adequately describes my own perspective on what to do in this situation:

“I would rather prove myself wrong than wonder if I could have been right.” Read more »

When a stick of dynamite can save your life

If you want to get things done, you will occasionally need to use some dynamite. But before using dynamite, one must understand the difference between necessary work and important work. Necessary work is work that people tell you to do. In teaching, the necessary work is the following: Read more »

Why Sports?

I just witnessed one of the greatest basketball games I have ever seen last night: Butler vs. Duke. Some called it David vs. Goliath. But really, it was Thor vs. Hercules. Patton vs. Rommel. Rocky vs. Draggo. It was two evenly matched warriors getting after it. And in the end, Butler came up short. Painfully, painfully, short. Read more »

More school is a waste of time

I am baffled that people would suggest the problem with school in America is that we don’t have long enough days or that the school year is too short. I learned from a very young age that if something isn’t working, I shouldn’t continue doing it. If students are disengaged and bored with 180 days of school, what does adding another 10-20 days of boring, disengaged schooling do to enhance education? More of a bad thing is WORSE. If what you are doing in a given period of time is not working, YOU SHOULDN’T ADD MORE TIME! You should restructure what you are doing in that time.

Show me a classroom where students are engaged for 50 minutes, then yes, I will agree that those students could get a better education if they had that same engagement for another 10 minutes. However, I wonder how many principals are walking around their buildings, observing the teaching and learning that is occurring (or NOT occurring), and are thinking to themselves “Man, we just need to make this longer. All those students who are passing notes and failing classes, we need to keep them in their desks a little longer. That will solve our problem.”

Wake up people. If your system is broken, putting your “product” (the student) in the system longer won’t make it better. A flat tire doesn’t improve by riding on it longer. A broken computer screen doesn’t get better by looking at it longer. A broken furnace doesn’t heat the house no matter how long you wait. Read more »

How your Science Fair Project can win you the Nobel Prize!

Did you ever do a science fair project that turned out a disaster? I did. I tried to determine whether or not there was a statistical relationship between full moons and earthquakes. An interesting idea, I know, but the theory was that perhaps the position of the moon and the increased gravitational pull would somehow disturb the equilibrium of the crust and result in a greater tendency to have an earthquake. After poring through 120 years of seismic activity and full moons, I determined that there was absolutely no correlation between the two. My project was a complete dud.

Now this is hardly an acceptable way to conclude a science fair project. However, I noticed that if I removed a few of the data sets from the 1930’s, my correlation coefficient would increase slightly, and while the numbers were still inconclusive, I would have at least something to say. I could comment that “there seems to be a potential relationship that requires more exhaustive analysis than I could conduct in the last few months.” Translation: “I just put this together last night but will you PLEASE still give me my bonus points for science class?”

Now some people would brush this off as dishonest (I agree) or at least skewing the numbers (I agree), but I eventually learned that this kind of “science” could win me the Nobel Prize!

You see, science really isn’t very scientific at all. Sure, there are some purists out there, but science isn’t always about the truth. The history of science is filled with people who found the truth, but the truth was not according to their hypothesis, so they changed the numbers.

Need examples? Read more »

THE ART OF LEARNING

I never thought of myself as an artist. To this day, I draw stick men that would not get awarded an honorable mention at a kindergarten art contest. I eventually resigned to the fact that I must be a scientist because I am good at math and because I think Shakespeare’s writing is boring. I always thought that these two qualities (good at math and bored by Shakespeare) thrust me into an inevitable life of crunching numbers and talking about graphing calculators for eternity. Read more »

IF STUDENTS ARE FRUSTRATED, IT MAY BE BECAUSE THEY ARE LEARNING

The act of creation takes work. It is demanding. It calls forth. It is not “easy”. It is not necessarily “happy”. It demands something. Energy must be invested in order to create, and the same is for discovery. To discover something, you must invest energy. It takes work to discover something.

If you want to create a work of art, prepare for stress and anxiety. If you want to discover new lands, prepare to get bruised, mentally and physically. Read more »

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