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Posted by on in Education Policy

When I send my children to school, I imagine that I am sending them into an environment where caring professionals are encouraging and challenging them to learn new ideas and engage in new experiences, anxious to open my kids' eyes to new possibilities. I am counting on teachers to provide understandable connections to what the kids already know and help them create a bridge to their future studies. Fundamental to the teachers' efforts, I imagine, is an overarching concern for my children's well-being.

So I confess I am baffled by the silence from teachers, when it comes to the health risks caused by daily classroom screen time.  I would have expected educators to clamor for more information, call for medical and scientific support, and rush to mitigate the situation once they learned that daily use of digital devices poses serious health risks to their students. But that hasn't happened, despite all the media attention and medical research that has recently been made available.

And the research is clear: daily computer use damages children. Myopia tops the list. The USC Roski Eye Institute, in its largest and most recent myopia study, showed that daily screen time is the likely culprit for childhood myopia doubling in our country.

Retinal damage (which can lead to macular degeneration and blindness) is next. Prevent Blindness America and voluminous medical researchers report that children's eyes absorb more blue light than adults: the damaging HEV rays go straight to the back of a child's eye.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

 No harrassment

Hands Off! Title IX

Keep your hands to yourself, the first rule we teach our preschoolers is a good start.  Manners and appropriate behavior have to start somewhere.

I read a shocking article about Title IX I couldn’t wait to share, not another minute. This is a shorter post than usual, as the author really puts it together for us.

As a Principal and when I taught school administration, the first tenet was to ensure a safe and orderly environment. “Duty to Protect” was clearly stated in the California Education Code and I took it seriously.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

 
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I love teaching every grade level! Each is unique and has its own challenges. At the moment I am focusing my attention to preschool. The kids are simply a riot and if you need a jolt of joy, join the fun.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

JustSay

I met Leslie Van Houghten. It's not something I often talk about. Tonight, it has resonance. There comes a time we must reach deeply into our hearts and souls and reflect on common truths.

Recent violent events in our country trouble us all. I know we wake up and wonder what's happening next to test our patience, unsettle us as a nation, try our core values as a collective people. We wonder how to help our children living in poverty, how to level the playing field and bring us together as a village of leaders and learners. Our Vision and Mission for safe, well fed, educated children is more important than ever before.

Before I was a Principal and Curriculum Consultant, for a number of years I worked in penal education. Just happened. Starting as High School English teacher, it was apparent too many kids couldn't read well, or at all. One thing led to another and there I was teaching Reading and getting my Masters in Reading. My thesis was on "delinquency" and the non-reading correlation. Paths go in circuitous routes sometimes.

I worked for Ariz. Corrections, youth and adult, Title I program for inmates under 21, then Calif. Department of Corrections, the real deal. I "walked the line" at Deuel Vocational Institution, taught with cell study teachers at San Quentin, visited all prisons at that time with under 21 year old inmates. Our hope was to catch young people with aspirations for a better life and provide intensive academics, in particular how to read.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

nursery 630x420 092013

Four years ago this month my son, Liam, was born. I was already a lucky and loving dad, but the lead-up to my son’s birth had me thinking about my place in the world. I was trying to carve out an idea of what kind of educator, dad, and person, I wanted to be, so that the message I would raise him with was clear through my actions. The stakes felt high, meaningful, adult-like for once.

When my wife went into labor, we rushed to the hospital and counted her breaths in the car ride over. Our bags were packed weeks before with everything we needed. We brought all the stuff countless blogs and books suggested good, caring, parents bring. The anticipation from the months of doctor visits, nights speaking to him through my wife’s growing belly, and hours spent wondering what he’d look like had come to their apex — it was time to finally meet him.

In the tiny waiting room of the Labor Unit a cartoonishly pregnant girl, no older than 17, sat across from us. She paced nervously in pajamas between labor pains, trying to contact people on her phone. With each call, she’d leave a message for people who felt distant, mere acquaintances, folks with abbreviations for names. With each message she left, my heart sank for deeper for her. With each answering machine reacher, she’d talk a mimicked and fading cool into her phone. She’d say something like: I’m in the hospital, can you find him? Call me back if you can. It was early morning now and no one called her back. Her messages became increasingly anxious and frantic and they let me put together some of her story. She was temporarily homeless, far from home, and looking for the guy whose DNA the child would share. Then the messages stopped altogether and the girl sat scared and alone, waiting for the same thing we were waiting for.

Hospitals and schools are both built with the best of intentions — to help the masses get better, to heal each from the confines of our body and mind. In schools the hope is to develop our thoughts. Public education allows people to escape the trap of their limited knowledge, of their class or economic heritage. There’s a promise that if you listen close and do what’s asked, the sky is the limit. Hospitals take in the sick, the scared and scarred, and teams of smart people — the one’s we tell kids in schools to become like — work to fix the problem that plagues each patient. The two institutions are the American project at its best — their doors are open to all people, but we each walk in with different facts and we are faced with others beliefs of who we are. So the scale is always tipped towards those with more.

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