Raising our Children – American Society Reflects our Values and Choices

This may be the most important article in my blog. Let us never forget – society is our creation – the sum total of our values and choices, beginning with how we raise and educate our children!

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What Kind of Society do We Want to Have? (plus an important addendum on “Back to School Night” and textbooks)

Thursday, 9/5/2019 – I’ve taken a break from blogging this summer due to the press of personal obligations, but recently posted a short note about Dutch parenting techniques.  The Dutch, according to UNESCO, supposedly raise the happiest kids in the world.  By contrast, last school year in the SMHUSD the month of September focused on suicide prevention.

I will contrast the article above about Dutch parenting to a book that I eagerly read several years ago entitled “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” by Amy Chua.  As an interesting follow-up, here is a 2018 note from her younger daughter.  The two of them frequently engaged in screaming matches as described in the book.

A new documentary has also been recently released on Netflix entitled “American Factory” and I strongly encourage everyone to stop whatever you are doing and watch this film ASAP!!  It describes a former GM plant in Dayton, Ohio (this city was a recent site of yet another mass shooting), and the attempt to revitalize it as an automotive glass manufacturer as part of the Chinese company Fuyao.  The culture contrast is stark, and Americans have a lot to learn from this film.  Here is some initial Chinese and American reaction on Bloomberg News.

Finally I want to put in another word for a book that I have mentioned in the past as one of my favorites on education: “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way.

I mention all of the above as a preamble to an upcoming review article, and I hope my readers will take the time to read/view this material first.

It is time for America to take a long hard look in the mirror… particularly before the next election!


One other short but important note – tonight is “Back to School Night” at Aragon High School.

School has now been in session for three weeks, and I still have students who have not received textbooks.  In other classes, students have been given textbooks but were told by their teachers that they will not be using them.

This is reflective of a growing trend of handing out xeroxed worksheets to students instead of using textbooks. I personally find this abhorent.

Sure, textbooks have become outrageously expensive in many cases, but a critical part of an education is to learn how to learn, and, despite technological advances, the vast storehouse of human knowledge is still in books.  I also believe California law requires each district to certify that their students have adequate textbooks.

I don’t care if the books are hardcopy or electronic.  I do most of my reading with the Kindle software these days.  That said, your children need to develop the skill of learning on their own by reading.  If they don’t, they will have been deprived of a critical component of their education.

If your child is in this boat, please speak up at Back to School Night and request that they be given textbooks!!

 

6 Dutch parenting secrets to raising the happiest kids in the world

I ran across the following interesting article during my early morning reading session.

Definitely a different approach to life than in our locale where during September 2018 the San Mateo Union High School District associated the month of September with s…cide prevention.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/06/dutch-parenting-secrets-to-raising-the-happiest-kids-in-the-world.html.html

California’s Charter School Morass

Abuse of public funds by segments of the charter school industry is a major point of contention between proponents of public education and those favoring greater privatization. The CA Department of Education recently created a committee to reform the charter industry. Has that committee been captured by the industry it should reform?

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How the College Admissions Scandal was Uncovered

An article from the LA Times on the tipster who broke the college admissions scandal while trying to negotiate leniency for another crime:

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-morrie-tobin-college-admissions-scandal-20190331-story.html

 

NY Times: “Justice Department’s largest ever education prosecution”

In case we need yet another wake-up call…

“The case unveiled Tuesday was stunning in its breadth and audacity. It was the Justice Department’s largest ever education prosecution, a sprawling investigation that involved 200 agents nationwide and resulted in the arrest of 50 people in six states.”

My SMUHSD Board Report on NGSS – A Lot of People of Good Will Trying to Deal with a Tough Problem

Current problems may eventually be ironed out of the NGSS curriculum. There was a nice display of positive progress at the 3/7/19 Board meeting, but there is still a significant way to go. There will be problems during the transition. Parents unfortunately appear unaware of / unconcerned by this issue.

Continue reading “My SMUHSD Board Report on NGSS – A Lot of People of Good Will Trying to Deal with a Tough Problem”

A Great Conversation at the SMUHSD Board Meeting Regarding NGSS

It is very unfortunate that it took a year to occur, but I am pleased to report that we finally had an excellent exchange of views about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at the San Mateo Union High School District Board meeting last night (3/7/19), and I feel more hopeful for the future.

I could post my presentation today, but that would give only my side of the story.  I will defer that until I also have time to write a description of the presentations from the District and the ensuing discussion with the SMUHSD Board members.  I hope to get that done before the end of the weekend.

SMUHSD Board of Trustees Science Curriculum Agenda Item on Thursday, March 7th

After a wait of almost a year, the Next Generation Science Standards agenda item will finally be discussed at this coming Thursday’s (3/7/19) Board of Trustees meeting.  A link to the entire meeting agenda is here.  I have been told that the NGSS item will come up around 8:00 PM, but this timing is only approximate.  The District will give the following PowerPoint presentation, and I have been granted six minutes to respond.

I just sent the following email to the SMUHSD administration and the Board of Trustees in preparation for this event:

Dear Board Members,
I am pleased that we will finally address the NGSS agenda item this coming Thursday, March 7th.  I have reviewed Dr. Kempkey’s and Mr. Simmons’ presentation.  Dr. Skelly has informed me that I will have six minutes to reply following it.  I have specific comments that I will make in regards to the District’s presentation, but also request that you all be aware of the following.
Since the SMUHSD science curriculum is of paramount importance, since it has been over two months since I posted the following article summarizing my concerns, and since I have waited for almost a year to the day for this forum to occur, I sincerely hope that you will do me the courtesy of rereading ahead of the meeting this article from my blog and also the Education Week article that is referenced therein.
As I noted near the end of my article, I am NOT seeking the quixotic goal of overturning the District’s adoption of the NGSS standards, but I do have serious reservations about the adoption process and want to implement better public notification in the future before such major changes are adopted.  Please refer to my meeting objectives stated at the end of my article starting with the text “Despite looking into this for a year now, it is not clear to me how involved the Board of Trustees really was in the NGSS adoption decision, and I hope the meeting sheds some light on that question.”
Thank you.  I’m looking forward to seeing you Thursday evening.
Sincerely,
Dr. David Kristofferson