Friday, October 24, 2014

The Threat is Real But It Doesn't Have to Be

There are threats to our representative democracy, but that isn’t the news.  There have always been threats to our representative democracy and if reasonable people make reasonable decisions we will reach reasonable solutions.  The danger is the when the power of the fringe faction overwhelms the power of the reasonable mass.  In our current political environment the following are the tools of the fringe faction and their use elevates the real and potential danger to democratic principals.

Gerrymandering: The purposeful drawing of political boundaries to maximize the influence of a ruling minority over an overall majority.  The danger and very real effect of this practice is that the will of the majority is thwarted and the primary election becomes the de facto election. When this occurs the power of the fringe is magnified and the power of the mass is diminished.  The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.

Voter Suppression: Voter suppression is disguised as a reasonable practice to prevent voter fraud.  The only fraud in the voter fraud argument is that there is voter fraud.  It does not exist.  People who don’t have the right to vote, simply don’t vote. Heck, the people who have the right to vote... don’t vote.  And there is the rub.  So few people vote that preventing someone from voting is as powerful as getting someone to vote.  This is especially true if a faction targets those that are unlikely to vote for faction in the first place. The most fundamental right of an American citizen is access to the ballot. Those that work contrary to this right are the most base opportunists.  The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.

Unfettered Campaign Finance:  The argument is that dollars = speech.  That premise is false.  Speech = speech.  Dollars = access, influence, coercion, special consideration and media time. If we believe in the premise of one person - one vote, then that requires limits on those who individually have the resources of 100’s or even 1,000’s of people.  To not do so is to abandon democracy for oligarchy. The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.

The Attack on Public Education: Key to a thriving democracy is an educated citizenry. An educated citizenry questions, thinks, considers and votes with reason and reflection. For a faction that is afraid of a growing populace that does not look like them, the last thing the faction wants is for those they deem different making mass, educated decisions at the ballot box.  When a faction defunds, devalues and debases public education, the faction diminishes access and opportunities to those who most need it, and who coincidentally have the most compelling reasons to question the status quo.  The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.

This post is in no way a partisan attack. In fact, in the recent past, both parties have been guilty of engaging in each of the dangerous practices I have presented.  Which is why I have always voted a split ticket. I don’t vote party. I vote for the smartest candidate that most consistently plays by the rules that are best for the country.  And that is why the threats I have listed could fade away almost overnight. All it takes is more of the collective us not only voting, but voting with consideration and reflection. 

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Success: A Coaching Exchange

The following is an excerpt between LYS Coach Harry Miller and the principal of a new LYS school.

(Coach Miller) It is exciting watching your people grow and increase the size of their bag of tools.  There is power in having all of the campus totally immersed in this endeavor; it’s hard to beat synergy. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats!

(LYS Principal) Thank you for helping us.  You and the LYS Team have definitely sharpened some of our dull tools that needed to be revamped, and added a new set of tools to our toolkit.   As of now, here are my stats:

86 PowerWalks for the year
52 PowerWalks for the month
24 PowerWalks for the week (I'll have more tomorrow)

I'm proud of what I've accomplished thus far but am pushing for more PowerWalks.  I keep an eye on the Top Observers of the Month and I've noticed that one of our elementary principals has been in 3rd place for most of the month.  She also knows this because I told her on Monday, “I'm coming for ya!!!”

I have been sharing what I have observed with my staff!  After which, teachers will write me meaningful replies back, or come into my office and thank me.  I thank them right back because they are the ones making such huge changes. 

Thank you, for everything you do and what Lead Your School (Fundamental 5, PowerWalks) has brought to our district. 

See you soon. 

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Closing the Lesson - It's All About the Plan

The most powerful retention strategy available to teachers is closing the lesson appropriately. This is neither a secret nor a recent revelation. Though one would be hard pressed to prove this in the field. Spend a reasonable amount of time observing classrooms and you too will discover that lessons are closed in an appropriate manner less than 1% on the time.

This bears repeating, the most power retention practice available to teachers is, essentially, never used.

Now we could discuss why this is the case, but that is a waste of time.  Instead I’m going to share with you how to fix this oversight.  The teachers that consistently close the lesson appropriately follow a simple 2-step plan.

1. Pre-plan and post the closing question for the lesson. Every lesson.

2. Use a timer. Every period.

The timer is set to chime five minutes prior to the end to the period.  When the timer goes off, the teacher has her students address/answer the closing question.  Like clockwork (note: the Fun 5 Timer I-Phone App is highly recommended).

You can recognize the 1% of teachers who do this.  They are much less stressed than all the rest of us and their students perform at higher levels (in comparison to like peers in similar classrooms).

My advice to schools and teachers: Steal the plan. Work the plan. Reap the rewards.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Money Follows the Student... A Really Bad Idea for Taxpayers

There is a compelling need for an educated citizenry.  As such, it is the responsibility of the body public to provide for education services that meets its needs.  Texas does this thru its system of public schools, paid for by Texas and United States taxpayers.

With this tax funding, there are accountability standards in place (fiscal, academic performance, and governance) and safeguards to prevent discrimination, segregation, and exclusion.  All of these benefit the public good and protect the taxpayer.

Having the “money follow the student” circumvents all of the currently afforded standards and safeguards. This is neither logical nor good policy.  Let me illustrate why this is the case.

Assume I’m a parent that wants my child educated in a non-public setting, which is currently (and always has been) a parent’s right.  However, I have decided that the state should pay for my choice by allowing me to take what the state would have spent in the public setting and use those funds to offset the tuition of the private setting.  Sounds fair, doesn’t it? 

Not really...

1. The public school has to meet certification standards for staff. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider is not accountable to staff certification standards.  For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

2. The public school has to meet public accounting and financial audit standards. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider is not accountable for meeting public accounting and financial audit standards. For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

3. The public school has to follow open meeting and open records standards. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider does not have to follow open meeting and open records standards. For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

4. The public school has to meet state academic accreditation and performance standards, for all students. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider is not accountable to state academic accreditation and performance standards.  For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

5. The public school cannot discriminate based on creed or nationality.  For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider can discriminate based on creed or nationality (thru both official and “soft” entrance requirements).  For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

6. The public school cannot segregate based on race or ethnicity. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider can segregate based on race or ethnicity (thru both official and “soft” entrance requirements).  For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

7. The public school cannot exclude based on ability, gender or economic status. For the taxpayer, this is a good thing.  The private provider can exclude based ability, gender or economic status.  For the taxpayer, this is a bad thing.

The rebuttal argument is this: “But what about what is best for the parent and the child.  Don’t they matter?” 

To which the answer is, “Yes, as has always been the case, they matter.”

For the parents that believe that public education is unable to provide the level, focus or type of education that they desire for their child there is a remedy. For the parents that prefer a school made up of a specific peer group of their liking, there is a remedy. Those parents can remove their children from the public school setting and enroll them in a private setting more suited to their philosophy, worldview or agenda. That is their right and their privilege. It is their "School Choice."

They just have to pay for it.

For the taxpayer, that is a good thing.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of October 12, 2014

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of October 5, 2014.

1. What takes years to build can be torn down in mere days and weeks. Leadership matters. (By @blitzkrieg607)

2. Your surroundings should make the things you need to do easy and the things you shouldn’t do hard. (By @tra_hall)

3. Did you know if teachers start class 5 minutes late and end 5 minutes early every hour they would lose around 29 days of learning each year? (By @justintarte)

4. I've heard many times, "Teachers don't vote." Let's hope this isn't true. (By @PaulaKelm)

5. Congrats to William Moerner, an alumni of Jefferson HS in San Antonio, for receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry! (By @RYHTexas)

6. Instructional feedback is giving students information in a timely manner that allows them to make changes that affect their learning. (By @vhsaldana)

7. Finishing a high school course beyond Algebra 2 more than doubles the odds that a student will complete a bachelors degree. (By @DrJerryRBurkett)

8. The good people of Texas can breathe easy, as their state is fiercely prepared for the non-existent crisis of voter fraud. (By @JohnFugelsang)

9. We have a constitutional obligation to provide a suitable education to every child in Texas. Vouchers vacate that duty. (By @johnkuhntx)

10. Model!  Model!  Model! (By @OCTHenderson)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shifting Fear

Recently I was talking to a LYS Principal, now in his second year.  He asked me a great question, “Does the fear ever go away.

My answer was “No. It just shifts.”

The first year principal lives with the constant fear of not knowing.   

The second year principal lives with the constant fear of knowing.

After year two, the principal lives with the constant fear of lost opportunity.

I closed with this, “Embrace the fear. It is what makes the principalship so worthwhile. You get to face your fear, beat your fear, and make the World a better place while you do it.  You get to be the Man (Woman) in the Arena. It is an awesome responsibility, afforded to very few. “

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Monday, October 13, 2014

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of October 5, 2014

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of October 5, 2014.

1. A big “THANK YOU” to the organizers, presenters and participants at The Fundamental 5 National Summit! It was a great day of learning and fellowship! (By @LYSNation)

2. Congratulations to LYS Principal, Jayne Ellspermann!! She was just named as the 2015 NASSP National Principal of the Year!!! (By @LYSNation)

3. Be a broken record:  "Continuous effort over time will bring success." (By @mike_metz)
           
4. A leader wants to know what's happening in the classroom. Choosing to do other things limits your ability to lead your school to success. (By @CabidaCain)

5. "Critical writing is the most natural and AUTHENTIC way to increase rigor." (By @mike_metz)

6. Today's Quote:  "It’s simple – education is the key to pretty much everything – prosperity, economics, stability - and peace." (By DrRichAllen)

7. Truth – The Fundamental 5 has the potential to be a GAME CHANGER. (By @leslmeek)

8. America: a nation that invests more $$ in its inmates & prisons than it does in its students and schools. (By @NicholasFerroni)

9. It is now a fact that one half of the students who graduate from college never read another book. (By @tgrierhisd)

10. Hanlon's Razor: ""Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." (By @DanielPink)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: ASCD Annual Conference; TEPSA Summer Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook