[westies] Re: ideas

  • From: DENNIS HARPER <dennis@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: westies@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:05:44 -0800


Good to hear from you. Your ideas are sound. This might fit in well with our new TechYES Science program. It has been some time since we last spoke. Give me a call at 360-528-2346 and we can talk about this initiative and catch up.

Regarding the newly nominated Secretary of Education. Not is all great with this choice. I received the following email this morning from a friend of mine (Gary Stager). His has some good points. Enjoy.... whether you agree or not.


Dennis Harper

I voted for Barack Obama. I gave his campaign money. I have a plane ticket for the inauguration. I remained cautiously optimistic about his election...

That said, I'm absolutely heartbroken over the Arne Duncan appointment. It proves just how pedestrian Obama really is. Apparently, being a son of political patronage and basketball buddy makes you better qualified to be Secretary of Education than every single educator in the world.

The "Chicago Miracle" is no better than the fraudulent "Houston Miracle" on which NCLB and Reading First were based. Duncan is no better qualified to be Secretary of Education than Coach Rod Paige.

Apparently, "change you can believe in" stops at the schoolhouse door.

Here's a question for you to ponder? If Arne Duncan is such a "reformer with results" who did such a swell job leading the Chicago Public Schools, why did President-Elect Obama send his daughters to private school? (a school based on the principles of John Dewey)

Duncan is a fan of NCLB and never met a standardized test he didn't love. Just today, he had a photo-op with the current lame-duck Secretary of Education. There seems to be little difference between them.

Here is my one sentence recommendation for federal education policy. "President and First Lady Obama should carefully study the outstanding education their girls will enjoy at Sidwell Friends School and replicate it for every child in America." Simple! (The educational philosophy of Sidwell Friends School is 180 degrees from NCLB and Duncan's worldview)

A Nobel Prize-winning physicist got the nod to be Secretary of Energy and this is the best America could produce to be the steward of our public schools? Here's an idea. I'm sure the physicist had a great teacher during his school career, how about that person be nominated Secretary of Education?

I hate to sound cynical, but the http://change.gov web site is like yelling down a well. It gives concerned citizens the illusory hope that Obama's team is actually listing to them. I imagine that there is a room full of interns just giggling at all of the suckers who send their wishes down the well. At best, change.gov is a fundraising tool.

The onerous application process to work in the administration assures that only cronies will get jobs. Strip-mining the Senate for Cabinet members further demonstrates Barack Obama's lack of imagination and political naiveté.

Here are some links for anyone interested in learning more about what is going on in American public education policy:

http://www.stager.org/blog/2008/11/why-im-scared-to-death-about-obamas.html - Why I'm Scared to Death About Obama's Education Policies http://tinyurl.com/69qpmv - Obama and other "new Democrats" like Duncan share contempt for teacher unions http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/soe.htm - Afie Kohn on the tortured politicization of this process http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Features/school_wars - School Wars: Who's Trying to Takeover Your Public Schools?
http://tinyurl.com/57p9yg - Duncan selective use of data
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-stager/the-surge-against-first-g_b_100456.html - The Surge Against First Graders
http://tinyurl.com/5gp2b4 - Facts on Duncan
http://tinyurl.com/5gnn6m - Obama, wrong on reading

Ho! Ho! Ho!


Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.

On Dec 16, 2008, at 12:41 PM, Kearney, Robert wrote:

Hope all you guys are having a good Christmas season and that those that have a new job, like Coy, are doing well. With Obama coming in, K-12 education promises to be an exciting area for the next few years. I like his choice for Sect of Education. I have two ideas to run by you. Actually both are very similar.

1. In my spare time I have tried my hand at story writing and have finished one called “The Orange Sun and the Green Flash”. It’s aimed at 5-6th grade level kids, but it has science things most adults are not familiar with. I would like to have 5th or 6th grade kids illustrate the story and I tentatively plan to self publish on Amazon…or another place…, there are a number. If it makes any money, I would like to split the money with the kids or with the school. So, I put a draft of the story on-line. What do you think of this as a project for some kids, and is there any interest in this at any of your schools? The story is at http://mysite.verizon.net/bkkearney/Stories/ under Red Orange Sun

2. Any book published over 75 years ago (before 1923) is in the public domain and kids could do their own illustrations of these books and publish anyway they want. If the publication date is less than 75 years ago they may be able to do this also, but this needs to be investigated case by case. The US copyright office web site has further comments. So this means kids can do their own illustrations for a large number of books and they could then engage in reading the book with a different eye, ask different questions, decide how the illustrations would fit in with the story line, how they would enhance the story, or how illustrations might change the story. There would be a lot of extended learning for the kids. They could learn about copyright law, layout publishing programs, etc. Many school systems do their own yearbook and probably already have OK software publishing programs. In any case the software is not expensive.

My oldest son Tom is in his last year of law school and will be working in intellectual property law when he get through with the CA. bar exam next summer. So I have an in to check out legal matters. Actually I think you could get some federal monies to develop this concept. It combines art, literature, and technology, and I hope NCLB will be modified soon to include performance/product based assessment. Maybe it could develop into a “Westies” project. Right now it is snowing here in Idaho and the temp promises to continue hovering about zero. But some of our grandkids are coming at the end of the week, and Santa, as always, will get through.
bob K


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