Thoughts On Local Education

It appears that there are too many special interest groups involved in the educational process. Rather than an honest examination of what the playing field is and what has a chance of working, too much time and resources are wasted in trying to do "things right" as defined by a bureaucratic system. Too many resources are also wasted through trying to "win public debates" that are already lost. A system that constantly needs to respond to whatever made the news in The Blade yesterday cannot spend it's resources on the core mission. Special interest groups waste too many valuable resources as they demand that the educational system cater to them. Face it, Toledo is an urban setting where education is concerned. The area has all of the documented issues that exist in any urban school system.
Yes there are many economically disadvantaged families in the area. Yes, many students come from less than desirable neighborhoods. Yes, many parents are not involved in the educational process. Yes, many parents do not have the background to help their students. Yes, the school system isn't wealthy. The list goes on and on. Yes, there are thousands of students who want to learn, and some who don't. All children will not achieve equally in any system. There are literally thousands of great learning activities taking place each and every day in Toledo.
What is needed?
A start would be to examine what is working and support it. A start would be to swiftly implement new models that look decidedly different than past practices. A start would be for the community at large to quit supporting special interest groups who do are not part of the solution. A start would be for all of the leaders in the system to recognize their common interests and work together, rather than "squaring off" in turf wars constantly. A start would be to dialog with persons showing success and support them.
A start would be to recognize that charter schools and vouchers give people a chance to vote with their feet and this is a competitive business.
A BIG part of the problem is the voices that are being heard. There are, literally, thousands upon thousands of parents and students who do not join the discussion because they are happy with their situation. The vocal majority tends to be persons with grudge or an agenda of their own.
School systems talk about being customer centered without really examining what that means. Who is the customer? What is the goal? How do you know if you are moving toward the goal? What "drum beat" should you be dancing to?
One of the first steps would be to quit pointing fingers. There is enough blame to go around to all parties involved. Examining the system and eliminating waste would also be another value added activity. Unfortunately an honest examination of the system would require that all parties involved look at what they, not others, need to change. The infrastructure of this area, and many others I am sure, is too involved in assigning blame and finger pointing. Too many great minds are working very hard in the wrong directions.

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What exactly does this mean "There are literally thousands of great learning activities taking place each and every day in Toledo?"

Also this statement, """A BIG part of the problem is the voices that are being heard. There are, literally, thousands upon thousands of parents and students who do not join the discussion because they are happy with their situation. The vocal majority tends to be persons with grudge or an agenda of their own"""

The thousands upon thousands of parents and students who do not join the discussion are in two groups, 1. Happy with their "situation" or 2. so unhappy with their situation that they just walk away from the discusssion and the TPS system to charter schools, home schools, private schools, vouchers, leave the city and some just drop out. When I first "joined the discussion" there were over 40,000 students in the TPS system. Currently there are less than 29,000. Therefore there are thousands upon thousands of students and parents literally leaving the discussion and the system.

The vocal majority, and I wouldn't call it a majority but we are vocal, have neither an agenda nor a grudge. We just want good neighborhhood schools and a quality education for all children.

What it means exactly is that there is now competition. The public education system now has competition that will either force it to change and meet the expectations of it's customers or it will look similar to industry that ignored it's competition. Toledo is not special or different from any other urban education system. Whether you like it or not there are in fact thousands of parents (critical component) who are happy with their situation, that is because they have "voted". they vote "with their feet" as intelligent consumers tend to do, or they switched institutions, either way they are involved and stay invoved with their child's education. It's rather simple when you view as a customer/supplier relationship. I don't know if you are the vocal majority or not. I do know that the entjire infrastructure of Toledo wastes time and resources. Continuing to perform the same actions and expecting different results is insanity!

just not understanding why you are flip flopping -between agreeing with what I am saying and posting negative comments about me,,,, personally.
Kind of unusual.

Trust me. I am not "filp flopping" in any way shape or form, I simply do not agree with with anyone who is currently part of what is going on. Not sure I agree with what you are doing? In fact not sure I agree with anyone who is currently involved in what is going on. I see too many people who ignore what could be a move in a different (positvie) direction. The current infrastructure of this city is mired in A vs B party, racism, political in-fighting, worrying about the YMCA??? (Thats a toledo blade thing, it never pays to take on the only media in town!) , Toledo seems to think that it is special for some bizzare reason. This is an urban "rust belt" area. There are problerms. The kids and their parents/guardians (if they have any who are in-touch with what they are doing) have problems. Just to be clear, I am not filp flopping, nor am I agreeing with you. I have a somewhat different perspective than yours. Negative comments?? Actually I only post my point of view. Don't take it personally, I just may not agree with what you post.
Not too unusual in the world!

How do you figure I am a part of "what is goin on? " Oh, never mind......

I have become seriously interested in what is happening in the field of education in urban areas, specifically in N.W. Ohio. It seems that educational system models based on the change from an agrarian society to an industrialized one, during the industrial revolution of the 20th century, need to be revisited. Actually it appears that successful schools are throwing out the old model and trying, new, innovative approaches. I think that it is time to "start the conversation" in our area. I am not an on-line addict, therefore will not be available 24/7. I do want to start the conversation. I have met an enormous number of people who are vitally interested in this topic and have ideas and insights that need to become part of the discussion and their notions need to be taken seriously. It really is time for the "tribe" to form.

Your personal attack on me and saying that it is time .
to "start the conversation" on education makes me wonder who the "enormous number of people" you have "met" are. You asked a question about what I do and then proceeded to demonize me personally with the following words.
Submitted by allin on Sun, 2009-10-11 16:07.
Very interesting. I am not sure of what you actually do? it anything? I mean anything that would be considered actually doing something to support the ideals you espouse? I specifically don't mean just writing blogs and being at meetings. Do you contribute any actual physical labor, effort, work (not a bad word - just 4 letters), hold office, ran for office, etc. - actually what do you do? I seems that there are a great many things/people you don't agree with, so what constructive actions are you taking? Or, are you just shooting at anyone who is actually trying something? Of course, that's easier than actually doing something. """""""
In order to start a conversation on an issue such as education which is vitally important to the progress of NW Ohio, Toledo specifically, then you have to be open to all of the "tribe." Not just the "enormous" amount of people you have talked to. You definitely have not talked to me, nor do you know me personally or peripherally.
However, because my children and grandchildren's futures are tied to the educational conversation, I will continue to do what I do in the hopes that I will make a difference in the lives of all children.

I am an " on-line addict" and therefore can be available 24/7.


Sometimes it isn't about you. Obviously! :)

to find out who you really are and how you fit into the puzzle.

I've been wanting to comment on this topic but haven't had much time. I think there are several things to consider in regards to a discussion on education in Toledo. 10 years or longer I realized we needed some changes in our educational system so I got involved. I have know purnhrt since that time and she has seen things in the education setting that none of us have seen. I know she stands for children as I do. Do we need a conversation - yes, we've needed an honest one for some time. I've tried at the board level to get that but there are always some status quo condition that makes it impossible. Do we have some excellent schools that are working - yes we do. Do we have other challenged schools that need our help and additional outside services to reach students - yes we do. I hope to be able to serve another 4 years to continue working on these issues but I recognize it won't be easy. Feel free to contact me at - let's gather some people and start a conversation. Thanks

and support Darlene Fisher. Anyone who has the presence of mind to speak "truth to power" gets my vote.TPS is long over due for a clock cleaning .In the inner city neighborhoods there are a multitude of needs and problems. What was the deal with the kid at Libbey the other day that purnhrt posted, were the proper procedures followed?

this stuff happens all of the time the only difference in this situation was that I was a witness, I took a picture and I'm not afraid to tell the truth.
Bob Vasquez responded and said that he will have John Foley do an investigation. lol
The only reason he responded is because these four adults assaulted a student, when that student should have been in school like his parent thought he was and he knows that there is a picture to document the actions of the school personnel, from the school principal on down.

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