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Friday, November 4, 2011

Competing in a Global Society - Meeting in Columbia

I have promised a report on a meeting in Columbia last fall. The meeting was sponsored by the SCASA and included a kick-off of their new web site and vision in addition to some very high profile speakers and panel discussions. I have delayed my notes because I didn't know how to report the comments our State Superintendent of Education, Mick Zais, made. I have finally decided to follow some old advice, "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything" - so I'll limit my comments on the Superintendent to say, he had guts showing up at a meeting full of state educators and saying the things he did.

I particularly enjoyed the talks from Dr. Yong Zhao, University of Oregon and Mr. Jamie Vollmer, author of Schools Cannot Do It Along. Business representation was especially strong with; Boeing; Michelin North America; Milliken and; AT&T making presentations on how important it is to support public education. It is great to know that major businesses in South Carolina are organizing to help education. Former Governor Dick Riley and Senator Hugh Leatherman also were presenters. I especially enjoyed Lucy Beckham, the Wando High School Principal, and I think,  a national Principal of the Year.

Our own Dr. Lynn Moody was an organizer and moderator of the event and Rock Hill's Jason Broadwater helped develop the new web site, Our Education Vision. Briefly, school superintendents got together to develop a vision for education in South Carolina. They have put together a web site that allows you to add your input to the vision as well. You should click here to help build on the vision that has already been created.

From Mr. Vollmer's magic list:

  • Parents need to be able to trust their schools. Schools must build that understanding and seek permission for change.
  • Educators need to stop bad mouthing each other.
  • Educators need to stop the, "I know the job is hard" discussion.
  • Shift comments to the positive.
  • Share the successes. Communicate in your community, not just in your schools. Change the message on your schools sign; weekly if not daily. Partner with businesses and put up posters/place matts of the good news or just the work of the schools. Play video's of your successes at community events - many of your business's now have LCD's for customers and employees - see if you can play there as well.
  • Sustain the effort. This is for the long haul.
  • Start - Do it Now!
Teachers are not the problem, they are part of the solution. Remember that.


Click here for a link to the video.

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