Shanghai models for us for 2011

Will we learn to value hard work by students? To teach students to hold adults– teachers and parents– in esteem? To takep–and stay with– a disciplined approach to teaching and learning?  To prize academic achievment?  To wake up and act on what our Secretary of Education called these Shanghi results on the international PISA test–‘;a wake-up call.’ 

Let us hope.

Happy New Year!

See you in 2011 as we work to move education forward–trust and achievement.

From AP to remediation

A sad state of affairs is reported in Joanne Jacobs’ blog–with many many comments this holiday season. 

Here’s my two cents:

Apparently, it’s not called ‘remedial’ in colleges any more–it’s called “developmental education.” This looks like another attempt to hide the truth–and lower expectations. Words mean something! They should be used precisely. If we are teaching K-12 skills and knowledge at the colleges, then we need to call that remediation–it is not developmental, unless we’re prepared to admit that education levels have been officially lowered and altered.

In getting ready for 2011, here’s a thought.    It’s time to teach creativity.   Perhaps the article below will inspire.

See, as  well, Newsweek‘s cover story this summer about creativity–reporting on a creativity gap for the U.S.  We cannot continue to lead without fostering and growing creativity. For starters, “forget brainstorming!”  Interesting.

To create anew we need to think and act anew.  Happy New Year!

The more we live, the more things change. Or do they?  Or do they get back to where we started–personal responsibility.

Fascinating, how views of reality shift.  Now, we are starting to see–if students do not do well in school, perhaps it is their doing, or their parents’–not the teachers’.  I believe this reality heads us in the right direction finally. Education is what students do for themselves. Others can assist, of course, bue education is an active verb!   Students and parents and teachers working together.

Race to Nowhere–a new movie by a mother, concerned about the overtesting and continuous resume building that our students–mostly upscale–live with. The movie is EVERYwhere–and the national conversation has started!

Congratulations to Vickie Abeles, a middle-aged mother who grew concerned when her own child was….. Now, her movie is a huge buzz and she’s been on Oprah! Thus, it was that my niece told me about it…

Like it or hate it–It’s amazing what one person can do. The power of ONE!

It’s about time. Education is something YOU do–it doesn’t happen to you. We need to stop blaming the teachers and start looking at the students. They need to be active participants. See China’s rise–and why? When I visited recently, t he guide told me, “The students work really really hard there.”

Honestly, there’s no other way.

Front page NY Times story about Shanghai’s test results on the international test, PISA. Having just visited Shanghai, where I saw the incredible bustle of millions of people (on the day we went to Expo, the World’s Fair, they clocked a million visitors–THAT DAY!), this is a stunner.

Our guides told us that students in China work very very hard. Indeed, the results show it.

What always shocks me is that news stories like this one focus on schools–higher teacher pay, etc. They don’t even mention the influence of home–parents who are gung ho for academic achievement. Honestly, that is the elephant in the room, as far as I’m concerned. We need to be honest here. Bring parents along as critically needed partners for education–as they do in China, Finland, etc. Without that, all the money in the world will not get us back to the top rung.

Dear colleagues,

If you attended and participated, thank you. If you have ideas to share, we’d love to hear of them.

If you did not attend, and would like more information about Procedures Lite (a voluntary process for parents and schools to develop IEP services without the procedures and meetings usually involved) and SpedEx (the use of an outside agreed-upon consultant to assist parties to assure that a child’s program will provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment–within 30 days! And, if the subsequent IEP is agreed upon, the consultant revisits the child in his agreed-upon program to assure that it is as planned and can provide a FAPE.  A very child-centered approach!  Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is funding this pilot.  For more information, please email to

Happy Special Education Day! December 2. 35 years ofthe IDEA and 6 years of Special Education Day!

Dear friends and colleagues,
Today is Special Education Day–a day for celebration and renewal!  It is also the 35th anniversary of the IDEA.  December 2, 1975.  A big day in our world.
As you know, we will host the 6th Annual Special Education Day here in the Boston area this afternoon.  We plan *to celebrate special education’s successes over the last 35 years, and
*to highlight current reforms underway here in Massachusetts (SpedEx, Procedures Lite, and update of a draft new IEP form), and
*to  explore new avenues for systemic reform going forward….. 
If you’d like information about any of this, please email to
If you mark the occasion with an event, or take a moment out of your day to have a special ice cream or drink, please let us know!  You can email us at
We want to make this day national!  Enjoy the moment!