Realedreform (It’s time to do right by our children)

What Realedreform is all about.

This blog is a collection of articles, other writing, and links to education-related information and resources. The focus is on education and education reform: what it has been, what it should be, and what is really needed. There are also some personal essays, sentimental reflections, and self-righteous rages… More of that in the older stuff, I try to tone it down and keep it more gentle these days. I think the links on the right side of this page list my postings recent top far back down below. Moving forward I’m looking to organize this whole operation so that categories are easy to navigate through. For example, posting more recent policy change awareness or chime-in to decision-makers opportunities in one “menu” area, opinion pieces in another, how some of my insanity turns into practice in yet another, and finally my silly-ass shit in yet another. I may not call that category “silly-ass-shit”, but…

A little something for everyone, you might say, and a healthy dose of me being me.

Yeah…That’s it! Me being me.

The why started a while ago now and had to do largely with how education policymakers and regulators have not been doing right by our young people on so many levels. What has been called “education reform” is all about blaming schools and blaming teachers. But there is a whole world swirling around our classrooms and our schools. If success or even survival in the world that is is the goal then educators and those on the ground and in that world need to get assertive and even aggressive.

In the end, it all informs and impacts education. So if we’re really going to do education reform, we need to widen our scope and be ready to dive deep into some serious issues. More than anyone, teachers need to be among the leaders in this effort. No more patsies being blamed for all that has gone wrong-teachers are the professionals, they have the knowledge and the experience, and are there on the front lines.

My first stab at a podcast:

I write and scribble and note ideas with an insane artist’s style. Not meaning to be fancy and pretentious like I’m a creative genius artist, I mean like some sideshow performance. Maybe a street guy doing weird stuff for some change or a couple bills dropped into a cup that may or may not be enough to feed me, and on a good day provides for the mangy but lovable mutt that might make the difference between only the sandwich and a bump-up to the value meal.

Of course the mutt gets some.

Before I descend too far into storyland here, what I’m trying to say is that thoughts hit my brain the way paint hit the canvas when Denny Dent leapt and swung and slashed and…

Again, I get carried away. I am not near as good with my thoughts as Dent was with paint, but as it happens it feels the way it looked with one difference being I’m lucky if a coherent thought package is the result. Dent was a talent. Some of his performances were mesmerizing while covertly sneaking up behind you and slapping you upside the head suddenly shouting into your brain “Oh my *&%$ god it’s Jimmy Hendrix!!! How did he do that?”

Yea, I’m lucky if I bring it together as a coherent package with my messy and unorganized notes so I figured I’d better start recording what I could, and editing how and when I can… So click on the heading of this section and it will take you to where I say stuff out loud and try to explain what I think a little more clearly. Or a least explain it out loud.

Here’s me doing what I like to do with some Langston Hughes

The story is Thank You, Ma’am. One of many powerful reads I’ll be compiling, discussing, and possibly recording some live audio discussion the way I have here with 5th graders, or the way I did with 3rd graders and the story Stone Soup, a discussion you’ll find at that podcast appropriately titled and easy to find there.

The reason Thank You, Ma’am is here is because I forgot how to push it onto Spotify and I don’t have the patience to fight with it right now. I am going to speak and listen and write and share…

You know, the way ELA types should.

From the shelf:

Here is where I will try to organize. Lately, I’ve been driven to try and do more. More about what is happening in education specifically, but sadly in the world. Starts with getting my thoughts in order which will start to show through me getting my writing more in order here and then getting back into that podcast . This site, and in some cases have the text read here be the script for what I say there. Only on the podcast, there may be some sound effects, more theatrical stuff. I do get carried away. To get started I’m parking some old favorites here.

My Picks for Your Pleasure 

1) Building Brainpower 1…

It’s no secret, I’m a little twisted for a father. But A) It’s tons of fun and B) It’s made my kids smart. Really smart. In this article I describe why and how I use Hide-n-Seek (Dad’s way) to get that brain-ball rolling.

2) Dear Lane, 

Lane Wright, Director of Policy Analysis at Education Post, was really confused and called for the help of teachers. Who better to ask for help when you’re confused, right?

So if teachers are expected to be the wheelwrights: have the wheelwrights done a quality job when your wheels are like tiny tricycle wheels with two spokes? For the sake of expediency we can even name those two spokes…uhmmm, let’s call them “MATH” and “ELA”, just for kicks.

Not even close.

3) Student Activists Lead the Way  March 2019

Will it be student activists who force political action regarding gun violence in America? Maybe that’s exactly what this country needs.

Some from the oldies bin

Classroom Engagement: Signals That Work  June 2016

It’s my favorite lesson to plug into the start of the school year. Before I start I want to say that, in the tradition of great teachers and great teaching, I totally stole this and then adapted it to suit my needs.

Being a Teacher (but first, just being “Dad”)  Jan. 2017

About four years ago my wife called me at school and told me that our oldest daughter had gotten off the school bus crying. Walking up our 100 feet of driveway between the road and our door, she had her report card in one hand and was clearly trying to gather herself… 

Teaching: Taking on the Moral Imperatives (Part I)  Jan. 2018

I’ve never assumed the power to teach to “change the world,” but I do understand that world. I see what it does close up. I know that other teachers do too. It imposes some horrible burdens on children, and those burdens become imperatives for teachers. It also means that teachers do more than “education reformers” care to admit.

Other Noteworthy Articles 

For information, support, advice and front-line opinions/voices from actual educators who support public education, I love The Educators Room. Below are a few articles that I have found particularly interesting. I have a few articles at TER, but I’ll let you find them if you want. Here, I’ll share the writing of some others.

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