Friday, January 19, 2007

Blog-o-sphere in the 21st Century

Educating Each Student to be a Thriving Citizen.

January 19, 2007

Dear Colleagues,

Last week I sent an e-mail that discussed some of the comments from Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Many of you wrote back with great comments and feedback.

Well, I am going to take the plunge and move into the 21st Century by converting my weekly letter to a blog. As I understand it a blog is an on-line conversation where a community of users (in this case employees of the Bend-La Pine Schools) can weigh-in on a topic and provide comments and feedback. The comments I received last week were thoughtful and provocative and inspired me to set up my very first Blog. You can check it out at www.yourschools.blogspot.com. Just click on the link. You will see my original letter and 7 of the responses I received are included in a link. I asked each if I could share their comments with all staff.

I hope that we will be able to have some great dialogue in this format. Please feel free to post comments, raise questions and share information that you believe will be of interest to our colleagues. Have patience with me as I am a neophyte in the “blog-o-sphere” – if there is such a word.

As we move more into the technological world in which our students are so involved, I feel it is incumbent on us and especially on as me as a leader to use the technologies and provide an example. Mine may not be a good example, but I am trying.Have a great week. Give the blog a try.
Doug

Students First * Success Focus
Data Driven * Positive Relationships

5 comments:

Tara, SkyView said...

Thank you for the insight and recommendation. I look forward to reading this as a teacher AND a parent. As a mother of a 1 1/2 year old, our role to shape her character and work ethic is exciting and daunting.

Thanks again!

Tara Butler

Skyview

Michael Hyder said...

Doug,

I first heard Thomas Friedman on the radio as he spoke about the “flattening” of our world. I was fascinated by the knowledge and common sense that he brought to the topic. I’ve been reading the The World is Flat from time to time depending on my frame of mind.



I appreciated you bringing up the reality that there is a sense of entitlement that is deeply based in our history and role as world leader. A recent article in Newsweek outlines that we are not #1 when it comes to, doctors per capita, infant deaths, male life expectancy, women in national legislatures, and voting (we rank 139th out of 172 nations). We do have the highest per capita rate of people in prison and the 15th highest murder rate in the world.



It is imperative that parents become actively involved in our schools. Our schools have the parents that are hard to reach (low socio economic, ethnic minority), non-participator (they can not find the time), passively involved (reads the newsletter, knows what is going on, attends events) and deeply involved (those that volunteer, help run the events, participate on site council). We need to work on opening the doors to our hard to reach and non-participatory parents. We need to work with the prospect of empowering parents and students who feel entitled rather than responsible for their learning.

I recently finished The Tipping Point: how little things can made a big difference, by Malcolm Gladwell. In chapter one he outlines and discusses the three rules of epidemics. Can we start an “empowerment” epidemic, where parents partner with the schools to educate their children for the modern world and the fast changes to come?

We’ll talk more I’m sure!

Michael

Amy Sabbadini said...

Regarding what Michael read in Newsweek, I've noticed that most of my history students still assume that America is #1 in all respects, even when presented with statistics to the contrary. This confidence in expired rankings makes us less competitive in the modern world. Our kids must see the achievments going on in other countries and realize that we can't rest on our laurels. The only way to keep our edge is to give students the tools and motivation to continue our long history of innovation and hard work. Believing we will magically always be #1 can only hurt our future.

I have attended school in other countries and think American schools are too easy. I would like to see our educational system become more rigorous so our kids graduate prepared for a challenging world. We also need parents to emphasize the value of education and provide more consistent discipline at home so our students can meet higher expectations in the classroom. Failing grades cannot be acceptable. Privledges should be earned. Deadlines should be respected. But I also want to be very careful to retain something that is great about the US's current education system and parenting practice: encouraging our youth to think critically and independently. I believe we can incorporate more academic rigor and disciplined behavior without creating drone students who all think alike.

Doug, I haven't read the book yet, but I heard the NPR interview and I have one question. Friedman stated in his interview that what is good for one country will eventually trickle down to be good for all. Can you clarify what he meant by that, since you've read the book?

Thanks,
Amy Sabbadini
Bend High

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent's Blog said...

Amy
I am not sure exactly what Friedman meant by his comment. However, let me take a stab at it. As countries progress (that is a term that can be debated but for this comment use it generally)there will be innovations and advancements in certain areas. As they become ingrained in that country they will move to others. With our technologically interconnected world that movement may be very rapid. For example, (my example) when we want to do a web search now we "google it." That is a specific reference to a specific search engine. However, as we know, there are several other search engines that can also do the job. Google has the greatest market share now and I would venture to guess not only in the US but in most other countries as well. Further, the interconnectedness of our global economy means that policies and practices soon become common globally or at least shape the conversation. For example, many of our companies are competing globally. In the US health care is most often provided to employees through the employer adding cost to the product or serivce. It is estimated that included in the cost of each car manufactured in the US between $1200 and $1500 is for health care which puts our companies at a competitive disadvantage. In other countries health care is provided by the government. That conversation is emerging even more strongly here both in our state and in Washington DC. Just some thoguhts on what he might have meant.

Lynette said...

I applaud you for stepping out into the blogosphere, and daring to try something new in this technological age we live in. It's an awesome communication tool, and a good example for the rest of us! Happy blogging!