Showing posts from December, 2011

Don't Fear the Website

A couple weeks ago, a reporter from KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids asked me to comment on a new website aimed at helping students report bullying and harassment at school. The website is sponsored by the Eychaner Foundation, which sponsors Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarship, as well as a minority scholarship for high school students in DeKalb, Illinois. I wrote about the organization and its founder, Rich Eychaner, in The Principal's Challenge. In addition to contributing more than a million dollars for scholarships in the last ten-plus years, Eychaner and his foundation have contributed mightily to civil rights and tolerance in Iowa and beyond.

Before the interview, I needed to get familiar with how the website works. After a kid makes a report, the school receives an email and letter through the postal service with the report. The website also includes the foundation's privacy policy and how they handle the information.

As a former principal, I first thought about how the info…

Who's up for a little test?

The latest post on the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog is a must read. In the post, longtime teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author, Marion Brady describes a friend who did something bold. He volunteered to take the standardized tests his state requires of 10th graders and announce his score publicly.

His scores were unimpressive. He guessed 10 of 60 math questions correctly and had a 62% on the reading test. It might appear that our failing education system includes not only the slouching high school kids in your town, but also this guy, who is has a big house in a good part of town, a condo in the Caribbean, influential friends and lots of frequent flyer miles.  Two masters degrees. Somehow he has managed to overcome his stark deficits in mathematics and reading and still help oversee a company with 22,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar budget.

So what gives? Are the tests garbage? Probably. Did he forget some of the things that the tests measure? For …