Friday, January 20, 2017

More light holiday reading on education - and Donald Trump.

The pressure to privatize public education apparent in the appointment of Secretary for Education by Donald Trump

There is an amazing amount of Federal money  up for grabs for those who believe in Charter Schools . Sadly Americans spend highly per pupil for education but are well down in international scoring - no wonder charter schools are attractive.

What is required, rather than privatizing schools, is a transformation of the public school system - to move it away from the current standardization to a more creative personalized approach - away from Henry Ford and back to the progressive ideas of John Dewey 

We need schools premised on developing the gifts and talents of all students.

America has paid the price for standardization of education with their large factory test orientated schools.


Teachers need to be freed to teach and to be respected - and given all the resources and help they need - not blamed for system dysfunction.

There are creative teachers who understand what John Dewey wrote about - and even a few schools. Sadly most schools are still about conformity and standardization not creativity and diversity. No wonder people see charter schools as an alternative.

Learning needs to relevant, real and rigorous -  authentic.

Relevance depends on the artistry of the teacher to personalize learning. Since the need to learn is an innate attribute of human being from birth this ought not to be a problem? That something that starts so well but ends so badly for so many students is the problem.

Time to take Sir Ken Robinson's advice! Schools premised on developing creativity

Schools are robbing too many students of tomorrow!

As John Dewey wrote 'Children are people, they grow into tomorrow only as they live today.'

Creative teachers create the conditions for all to grow- not to tests, label, sort and demean their students.

The culture ( environment) shapes all for better or worse.

Too many schools are suffering from an imposed obsession of evaluation, assessment and documentation - see below!

Teachers should be focused  on providing  positive conditions for all to grow to develop their unique talents rather  being exhausted by documentation requirements. 

As a wise of teachers once told me : 'teachers have two things to protect - their time and their energy - if they waste it on bullshit they can't teach' ( Howard Wilson New Plymouth NZ.) 

Peter Drucker, the respected business philosopher, wrote: 'the first country to develop the creativity of all its students will win the 21st Century.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reflecting on education -light holiday viewing


Hekia Parata has gone - and our populist Prime Minister - and 2017 is an election year.

Time for teachers to get political if teaching is to be more joyful and creative for students and teachers

Some teachers ended last year stressed to the maximum.

Time to place developing students , talents, passions and creativity central.

National Standards are distorting education!

Schools have been sucked into formulaic teaching : WALTS, success criteria, and in the process student 'voice' and idiosyncratic creativity has been neglected.

The real life world of the learner is being lost.

Forget your plans - help the students learn - personalize learning not standardize it!

Its not MLEs, ILEs. FLS, ( or whatever they are called these days) or technology. What is required is a creative teaching pedagogy.

Students need authentic ( to them ) learning experiences.

Forget all those 'experts' ( someone who never has to do what they say). The answers lies, as always, with creative teachers. Look out for them - they are the ones questioning things!

Why do we have to do this?

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The world according to Trump 2017 - 2021

The world waits to see what 2017 will bring.

It seems you can fool most of the people all the time...

Trumps agenda - America to be run by a one man band. Even true Republicans are worried

Sanders - a lost opportunity to help those left behind. The future requires a political party to provide for all.

Democracy in America - a game for millionaires to play

Forget Obamacare - look after the rich!

The Republicans will provide better care for the poor - yeah right!

The world will miss this family - Obama blocked at every turn by the Republicans.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Bernie Sanders / Pope Francis / Elizabeth Warren / John Maynard Keynes / Nelson Mandala / Sir David Attenborough and Albert Einstein

Thoughts to reflect on for the year ahead

Bill English and Deputy Paula Bennett.

In New Zealand our populist Prime Minister John Key resigned unexpectedly and  now, with our 'new'  uninspiring Prime Minister Bill English in charge, the 2017 election just got more interesting. Time now for some real political debate.

A number of figure in our popular culture died in 2016. Above a clever adaptation of  a Beatles record cover. Who can you recognize?

More importantly a number of people spoke out against the consequences of three decades of neo- liberal politics. A move away from a 'me first' to  'we first' society. 

In the USA Bernie Sanders

And Pope Francis

And Democratic Senator 
 Elizabeth Warren 

This is exactly what has happened in New Zealand, the UK and Australia.

Attacking the rich, the 1%  is not just envy.


And when the rich elites got into trouble in the GFC in 2008 they asked the government to bail them out! Too big to fail  - welfare for the corporations! 

And the biggest disaster of all in 2016 the election of Donald Trump who appealed to those left behind by 'market forces' and globalization - and who, since his election has appointed people who will do little to help  those who voted for him! 

The lesson was that the political elite have lost touch with citizens who have gained little from 'market forces' politics - a lesson echoing the Brexit vote in the UK.

H L Menckin's words have come to pass:

What will Trump's victory mean? Maybe it is the beginning of the end of neo-liberal politics?

Who knows what 2017 will bring.

A new ecological approach to life is required

And this will require new thinking.


This is the challenge for us all in 2017