Saturday, March 7, 2009

Feb. 15th Meeting Minutes

These question were posed on a graphic to the group. The responses were recorded by Kathy LaCombe.



I. What is right with schools/learning?

Many dedicated people

Forced socialization can make for more balanced and critical thinkers if encouraged


A common ground to start conversations

It’s your chance to socialize

Provides basic math/writing skills to function in work settings

Allows social interactions with others – develop thought/belief patterns

They are free to all

They provide the best we have for the masses, so far.

Kids’ attitudes – treat them like adults

Teacher empathy (like teachers driving students to school)

We recognize there is more than one way to learn – that memorizing facts is not learning

Has standards

Has committed educators

It is available, teachers want to teach, socialization skills

It is the cultural norm

Structure & discipline

Embracing the new technology

Everyone in America believes that a quality education is the key to end poverty &

economic disparity.

Heavy emphasis on the quality of teachers and continuous professional development

Current trends support:

Differentiated learning (to a point)

Common (for some) assessment

Learning interventions (sometimes)

Use of technology (limited)

There is:

Teaching of reading (K-3)




Teaching of all subgroups

Depending on your perspective:

Compulsory Standardized education creates a society of people that are raised to

sit down, be quiet, jump through the hoops, and receive their meager


Math education makes people that builds tools and weapons but not happy lives.

II. What is wrong/broken?

Relies too much on tradition and not enough on the skills for tomorrow.

Too much standardization

Teaches that authority is not to be questioned

Alienating – tedious – boring….fosters anti-intellectualism and dampens students’

passion for learning

Not embracing the new technology

People trail/paper trail

The more enthusiastic young teachers are laid off, often causing them to quit teaching as

a career.

We teach to improve test scores, not love of learning

Depending on your perspective:

Compulsory Standardized education creates a society of people that are raised to

sit down, be quiet, jump through the hoops, and receive their meager


Math education makes people that builds tools and weapons but not happy lives.

A disconnect with the difference between information and knowledge.

Computers take you to your immediate answers – yet, all of the serendipitous discoveries

that come with “looking up something” have all been replaced by instant


I don’t know what’s wrong, but I have a good idea how to fix it – State of Arizona prison


Teaching kids as a group.

Public education is not equal (scholastically, library, special support to the needy)

Too many standards

Superficial teaching – we need to teach deeply and be quite focused.

Lack of “real” input from students

Big gaps between what is taught in school and what is needed in life, particularly for

careers and meaningful work.

Teachers are too brash in decisions

I can literally go to any class at anytime and pull out a kid

Kids are homeless; see school as haven

Schools are top down

Kids have more enthusiasm than teachers – kids are ready for change; teachers are not

Arrogant administration

Education starts at home but kids are practically homeless

Too much politics to support how great school is, how great sports are, and who is


Not enough time spent on how to be kind or supportive of each other

Education is stuck because it was built on post agricultural/industrial principles. These

principles are obsolete. The cheese has been moved and educators stayed behind,

much like dinosaurs.

What are you going to do to contribute to the world?

Schools are deficit focused

One size fits all thinking. The stress of being college bound is not realistic for all. Need

Programs to route those interested in alternate career choices – tech, trades, etc.

Improve writing skills and basics of education

Too quick to “throw away” problem students

Money tied to standard test scores

What skills are taught to earn a living?

Racism and poverty are still victims of unequal funding, programs, materials, etc. – the

poor are kept disadvantaged in the school systems they attend

I’m sick of budgets being the cause of “spinning” what is good for kids, rather than “what

is good for kids” creating budgets

What happens to cause teacher burn-out?

Too much testing

Not enough use of data

Funding doesn’t support technology

Need for some smaller class size

Support staff issues

U.S. education ignores what goes on educationally around the world in terms of success

There is no flow….

Kids should push the curriculum

Structure and discipline

Not embracing the new technology

Lack of creative curriculums – art, music, film

Scores are up at the end of tutoring, but go back down

Basketball is more respected than classroom

III. What do you personally feel passionate about re: learning?

My passion is getting others passionate.

My passion is food.

Learning doesn’t end at 3:00

People should be able to read and write coming out of school

School needs to be flexible to accommodate different learners

Creating programs that provide skill training to earn a living

Once students have mastered basic skills, they should be allowed to follow what interests


Meeting the needs of all learners in their diverse learning styles and personal needs.


“Outside of the class” education

Students asking questions – start small and relative

Policy/design needs

Best practice

A voice

Critical thinking skills need to be developed through greater emphasis on logic, history,

political science and economics

Questioning and understanding what motivates other people teaches a lot about why the

world is the way it is

Learning must be adjusted to embrace new, emerging technologies

Learning must connect us with the world

Every student needs a caring adult

I would like to relearn how to tell a story so that audiences understand and want to see

my story through fine arts.

When a child learns, it is like:

Igniting the flame

Feeding the fire

Watching it burn

Enjoying the glow

Better listening habits

Mathematics – how they are applicable in today’s hi-tech world

How to move towards a focus on assets instead of deficits. There needs to be a common

context for shared learning and developing talent & capacity in our youth

High School is not the end of learning

8th grade is the old 12th grade

IV. In this culture of change, what action do you think should be taken regarding learning?

Ask kids the right questions

Not start school until later in the day – 10 AM to 12 Noon

Run school year round.

Run high school like college and let students pick classes & times

Embrace 21st century learning systems

We must learn from other countries and each other

Post-secondary education for all

Who takes ownership of the future?

Needed alternatives to current practices: The year, day, hour, lesson relevancy, guidance

& counseling, teacher training

Investigate the European Model

In 12 grade….intense introduction to the world of work & lifelong learning

A cultural shift is needed….people need to take more personal responsibility for their

learning. Schools can provide a framework and starting point, but currently are a

lot of busy work that doesn’t encourage following passion.

Media: seemless connections

It starts at home, however, the environment and the method, I believe need to be


Focus = interest (meditation [David Lynch Foundation])

Relevant issues – history (in context), etc.

Strong alliances with community colleges for post high school training

Think about their thinking

Being future focused

Higher order thinking skills – analyze, synthesize, apply

Identify non-negotiable standards

Teach these standards deeply/project based

Explore the creative side of education

Focus on strength focused education

More personalization in curriculum implementation

Make education more meaningful for kids

Increase cultural competence – understanding cultures here and abroad. Teach how to learn about cultures.

Get global

Homes – starts there

Respected value all choices

Stop worrying about standardized test scores and focus on honestly learning how to use

the knowledge, not just regurgitate it.

Give graduating students the skills they need to earn a living

A more European type of education system in high school


Umbrella community with best practices

We need to show students immediate relevance that what we teach increases their earning


We need co-op, internships, career day and out of school relevant experiences.

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