Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cramming for Feedback Sessions

Thanks for the welcome, Cheryl. It's a pleasure to participate more actively in a discussion about education with the JIS community. As suggested in my profile, I suspect an interest in education is genetically encoded. Let's see if I have any talent for interesting others.

I agree with Cheryl that curriculum is a bedrock issue in education that deserves our time and attention. I suspect she was deftly working backward to it in an earlier posting, when she invited us to make a wish list of just 4 things we would like our kids to be able to do on leaving school.

The creation of such a wish list is a focused but user-friendly entry point to defining educational goals and standards, a topic that directly addresses the 2nd of the following 3 “ends” issues Council now focuses on under the Carver model of governance.

1) Whom do we serve?

2) What do we want to produce for those served?

3) And at what relative cost?

In turn, educational goals and standards should be the starting point for developing and delivering curriculum – guiding what is taught year-to-year and even day-to-day. Though it is not appropriate for Council to develop curriculum, it can and should be involved in

a) Setting educational goals and standards; and

b) Exercising oversight of the school administration or “Executive” to ensure that the curriculum serves achievement of goals and standards.

I applaud Council for demonstrating its commitment to addressing ends issues in active consultation with parents, staff, students, sponsoring organizations, and alumni – first, by sponsoring the Ownership Perception Audit and second, by inviting these moral owners to offer feedback on the findings.

At the risk of a repetitive blog, I invite all parents to reconsider Cheryl's question. The exercise could not be more timely. Think of it as “homework” for the feedback sessions you will hopefully be attending over the next two weeks. And though it may seem immodest, I have recapped my wish list below the dotted line in the hope that it will facilitate further thought and discussion.

Are we as confused about core values and as “at odds over educational goals" as the Council’s summary of the Ownership Perception Audit findings suggests (see bottom of page 2)? Post your own wish list to the blog, and we may begin to find out. Let the enrichment process begin!


1. Communication

The ability to read and think analytically and to express ideas clearly and confidently in writing and public speaking to a standard I lack the expertise to define.

2. Financial Literacy

The ability to use basic math skills and operations to master the 10 basic money skills identified in Joline Godfrey’s Raising Financially Fit Kids.

3. Conflict Resolution

The ability to resolve a) inner and b) interpersonal conflicts through

a. self-awareness including a written credo of one’s personal strengths, needs, values, and spiritual beliefs; and mastery of stress management, including understanding of the mind-body connection, regular use of relaxation techniques, and achievement of minimum standards of physical fitness.

b. mastery of active listening, effective assertion statements, and the “collaborative” or “win/win” model of conflict management.

4. Lifelong learning

The ability to continue learning throughout life through:

a. mastery of the process of secondary research;

b. understanding of the scientific method;

c. understanding of primary research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods; and

d. mastery of Internet Explorer and a variety of other computer applications.


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