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Monday, June 27, 2011

Why and How to Save Great Teachers

Living in Ohio and working in education make for a tumultuous time of employment. Our governor has proposed a radical state bill (SB 5) that has come under serious fire. It's filled with some radical ideas as to how to save money and reform education (among other things) in the state in order to bring about change and save money in an economy that is wrecked.

He has a done a horrible job communicating the values/ideas behind the bill. I think he thought he was going to ride the coat tails of New Jersey and Wisconsin who have passed some radical legislation as it pertains to education and unions. Along the way he's said some stupid things that have infuriated people and have blocked them hearing some of the honest, necessary change that parts of this bill really propose (and that we need).

In light of the bill and other budget cuts, school districts across the country are forced to lay off amazing teachers in the name of an asinine rule: Last In. First Out. After watching Waiting for "Superman" last night and visiting its website and, I truly believe that this practice must go now!

Here is a video that does an amazing job of communicating values and vision behind one component that could help save great teachers and put students first in our mission to help them achieve academic success.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Are You An Open-For-Feedback Parent?

So today we had a great time celebrating Sarah's birthday with 11 of her friends. Great time. Great girls. Great memories.

Tonight as Kelly and I were looking back on the day, we couldn't help but talk about how unique and different each of Sarah's friends were. Extroverts and introverts. Funny and serious. Critical thinkers and expressive thinkers. Tomboys and girly girls. So fascinating to watch them all laugh, play and interact with each other.

As we were talking about each girl, Kelly says to me, "What do you think people say about our kids?" To which I said, "I have no idea, but I would love some real, honest feedback on what others see when we aren't around."

I think this would be so helpful to have these insights from others who maybe see things we don't about our kids weaknesses and/or strengths. Why you may ask. Because we don't have it all figured out. We need help like everyone else.

I would also love to give some honest parenting feedback to some friends, family and strangers, but most of us get too defensive. "How dare you talk about my kids that way." "Who are you talk talk bad about my kid or my parenting?" "You have no idea what you are talking about...I work hard at being the best parent I can be!" Those are just a few of the things we might say in defense.

One thing I try and do is ask as honestly and transparently as I can when I pick my kids up from somewhere being with someone is how were they? Did they behave, play nicely, use manors, treat others with respect? In other words...I'd love some feedback if you have any that you think might help me parent/raise/mold/shape my kid.

So let me ask...why is it so hard to receive good, honest, and, yes, sometimes hard feedback about our kids? What keeps us from being open to parenting feedback? What keeps us from developing the kind of community or friendships where we can give this kind of feedback? I know I want to and need to keep growing in this area.

I really believe we can and would become better parents raising healthier kids if we made ourselves available to becoming open-for-feedback parents.

American Pie + Grand Rapids = Awesome

In the immortal words of Liz Lemon...I want to go to there.


The Hunger Site

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