Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maureen Downey of the AJC publishes the letter of retired Ga. Dept. of Education and he says we already have the answers

     Do you ever feel like education has similarities to a hampster wheel? It keeps spinning and different hamsters get on and off but the wheel goes nowhere other than to start and stop. Maureen Downey of the AJC published the letter of retired Georgia Department of Education Director Dr. Stan Bernknopf and he said that his 20 year tenure at the GDoE taught him that politics has kept real reform from happening in schools. Do you agree? Here's his take.

Get SchooledFixing our schools: "We know what needs to be done." We are unwilling to do it. 

Education illustrationA highlight of my job is opening my email to thoughtful notes like this one from Dr. Stan Bernknopf, who was director of the Division on Research, Evaluation and Assessment for the state Department of Education.
With his permission, I am sharing his letter:
By Dr. Stan Bernknopf
For 20 years, from 1975 to 1995, I worked for the Georgia Department of Education. When I retired, I was the Director of the Division of Assessment, Evaluation and Research.
During my tenure with the department, I had the opportunity to work for three state school superintendents, three Georgia governors, various members of the Legislature, and several state boards of education. While the major part of my 20-year DOE tenure can be described as exciting, rewarding and professionally fulfilling, the job also had its frustrations, disappointments and, in too many cases, it highlighted the naivet├ęs and/ or ingenuousness of our educational leaders, both elected and appointed.
As an ‘X’ educator, I’m drawn to the current news pertaining to Georgia education. I especially enjoy your articles which seem to be insightful and represent well-reasoned positions. 
However, it seems that I can’t read your articles and the general educational news without once again experiencing those feelings frustration and disappointments. We seem to consistently make the same mistakes we have made in the past by consistently ignoring the past.
We present initiatives (both state and federal) as if they represent something new when, in fact, they are simply a revised program that already has a history in Georgia. 
This letter is my cathartic exercise to relieve my frustration.
During each new administration at DOE, I witnessed the creation of some sort of “educational review” committee tasked with the job of developing a road map for education in terms of funding, administration and structure.
Each of these efforts usually produced a new program with a new approach to meeting old objectives and goals.  The Georgia Basic Skills Program (GBSP), The Georgia Adequate Program for Education (APEG), and The Georgia Minimal Competency Program are a few that come to mind.
None of these efforts produced groundbreaking findings and they certainly didn’t produce information that wasn’t already known. At best, these efforts were a way to address political promises made during campaigns; at worst, they simply postponed dealing with the real issues facing education.
The professional educational community knows what problems and issues face Georgia education. More importantly, they know what needs to be done to really move Georgia education to the point where all citizens can be proud and, more importantly, our students will be adequately prepared to participate in the global community.
Why then do we insist on re-creating the wheel with each new administration, asking the same questions only to get the same answers and pretending that we are really addressing the issues with new and unique approaches?  A comprehensive answer is far from simple and would take more space than is available in this letter. A short answer would go something like this
To read the rest of the commentary and Downey's work, please go to the AJC at:
Maureen Downey

About Maureen Downey

Maureen Downey is a longtime reporter for the AJC where she has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy for 12 years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Indian Festival of Chariots is a huge hit in Novi


     I am under the opinion that the Indian culture is one of the most interesting on earth. From the food, clothing, religion and cultural entities, make it a cultural festival that is a lot of fun. One of the most interesting parts of the festival is the colors tent where kids and adults basically soaked each other with a dust that resembled sidewalk chalk all while dancing to Indian music. The photo album below in the Oakland Press will show you some of the highlights.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Marshbank Park gives family entertainment a summer smile

   Concerts at the Park is a popular theme in most Oakland County communities and West Bloomfield is one of many that bring families out. The food, fun and music were on display at Marshbank Park. Set on the banks of Cass Lake, this Pine Knob style hill minus the amphitheater brought out the young and old. The concerts continue all summer long and the photo album is on display shot by Roy J. Akers at the link below.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Teaching Tolerance announces their teachers of the year.

     Teaching Tolerance announces their teachers of the year.  Their stories in print and video are in the link below.

Meet the 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award Winners!

The big moment is here! Teaching Tolerance is pleased to introduce to our community five visionary educators who use their talents to reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and promote equity in their school communities all year long. That’s why they were selected to receive the 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching. Christopher Avery, Amy Vatne Bintliff, Christopher Hoeh, Barrie Moorman and Michelle Nicola received their awards at a ceremony on Sunday, July 13 in Montgomery, Ala.
“The winners of this award are expert social-justice educators,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello, “and who better to learn from? We believe their work will inspire other teachers and encourage them to lead and innovate in their own school communities.”
Over the three days leading up to the award ceremony, the awardees attended a teacher leader summit during which they participated in workshops designed to capture their unique contributions and share them with the larger TT community.
The awardees also welcomed TT into their classrooms this past spring where our staff gathered footage of these innovative leaders in action. We hope you’ll take a few moments to get to know them better—and to be inspired!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Clarkston's 4th of July parade brings out the community to celebrate America

Karen Newman gave a very brief appearance
singing.... the National Anthem
Tributes to America and veterans on hand were plentiful.
Check out the photo album below
     The Village of Clarkston really 'whooped it up' for the 4th of July as a mix of veterans, politicians and community floats had a tremendous amount of fun. If you were not wearing a combination of red, white and blue, you really stuck out on this beautiful 238th birthday of America.

The 4th of July is a party to this man
Kids everywhere had a blast

The photo story to the Oakland Press is linked below.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wild Summer Nights in July at the Detroit Zoo promotes family fun

     You have to hand it to the folks at the Detroit Zoo. They are in the family business as much as the animal business and their Wild Summer Nights is a big hit with families. Between the great weather, families dancing and a chance to walk the zoo, what a great time this event is. It is being held on Wednesday's in July and is included in your zoo admission or is $6.00 after 6pm. The photo album is in the Oakland Press.