Monthly Archives: February 2014

Some Free Thinking

ImageWe are witness to the time when the  Einsteinism, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, should be a guiding principle in education practice.  The time between what we can think of, and the physical manifestation of that thought, is reduced to the point that the limiting factor is truly only our imagination and how quickly we can think.

As we forge in the smithy of our soul the electronic conscience of our race, (to warp Joyce), it is the discipline of the structure of language that simultaneously limits and shapes our thoughts to what we can publish worldwide, rather than the previous limiting factors such as materials like paper and ink, or devices of distribution. 

And not just words, we have 3-D printers to make physical the objects of our imaginations.  I think of the dueling wizards in the old Disney cartoon- “The Sword in The Stone”, the winner being the quick thinker, Merlin.  Magicians we all shall be, if only we can think to do it.

We rush to a manufacturing economy and tout “made in America” as the next wave, when really the wave we should catch is “imagined in America”, “designed in America”, because it may be the machines that will be the country of manufacturing, and those skills may become increasingly unnecessary.  

Which is more to what I believe is the point of it all.  The big IT, (and not the Camazotz form), but the spark of us, the potential of us.  The freedom people have so long sought is not the freedom to be released into the servitude of manufacturing, of a daily grind, the struggle for sustenance and to pay a mortgage.  Imagine a freedom to truly do what you want to do, to create freely.  All of our inner poets, painters, sculptors, inventors, – breathing the pure air of …, well,… freedom.  If the image of God is as creator, then I think we would be, as Mazlow would have it, “actualized”.

We have not yet escaped the dimming of the spark of life in the eyes of children on assembly line education models.  We have moved backward to the idea of children as replacement parts for what falls out of the vast machinery of our society when a job needs to be filled, when we have them walk again and again the worn path.  The truth is our society is so changeable that there can no longer be “replacement parts”, this is the time of the individual, if the society is to survive at all.

The classroom should be a joyful place of explorations coming from the students.  If “play is the highest form of research”, another Einsteinism, then the classroom should be that laboratory, rather than a labor camp.  The skill to develop is what we have prided ourselves on: ingenuity.  We will get there with creative approaches to education. We can show them how to make a living, and the joy of being alive.

 

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Ms. Skandera and SJR 2 – Letter to Legislators

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Dear Esteemed Legislator,
It is time to elevate the needs of our students out of the mire of election cycle pendulum swings and the potential for conflicts of interest in dealings with private companies.  Public Education requires representation from all sides, from people who cannot make personal gains by political posts, but have, at all times, the interest of students at heart, with no question of motivation.
Please do not confirm Ms. Skandera or any other single person to the post of “Secretary of Education”, and please push forward Senate Joint Resolution 2 sponsored by Senator Michael Padilla.  This way we can make steady, well represented progress that lasts, and will not swing with party changes in the Governor’s office.  This is something we must absolutely do, for the sake of our children’s futures.
Please consider deeply the future of New Mexico.
Thank you for your service to our state.  I know it is getting wearing now, at this point in the session.  Keep standing true.
Sincerely,
Jeff Tuttle
2103 Golden Apple Teacher
Monte Vista Elementary

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Testimony to the House Committee on Education

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This is what I said this morning in the House chambers.   There were at least 100 teachers there from all over the state!  Hooray for education!

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My name is Jeff Tuttle, I’ve taught at Monte Vista in Albuquerque for 22 years, and last year was awarded the Golden Apple.  First of all, thank very much to the legislators who have made individual efforts to improve education in New Mexico, such as Representative Stewart and Senator Michael Padilla, and thanks to those who will support their efforts.
 
The implementation of the current evaluation system has been disastrous for four groups of people in New Mexico.  Students and parents have been affected negatively as we have sacrificed smaller classes to pay for the implementation of this system.  The current administration cites research that shows that effective teachers can teach to the test in larger classrooms, but the research is deaf to the sound of the gunshots going off around the country, and now in our state.  Teachers insist the conversations in smaller classrooms are how students get some human connection, rather than just feeling like cogs in a large, de-humanized machinery.  Students who have some connection, some care for themselves and others don’t bring guns to school ready to abandon their own lives and destroy the life of anyone in their way.  Class size is vitally important and is the most stated reason why people leave the publics schools, if they can.  The business of humanity is the first curriculum of our classrooms.
The third group of people are teachers, who are leaving education or want to leave.  In our district retirement is up 55% over this time last year, and there are currently 150 jobs that have vacancies.   The additional monetary enticement to come into the field that this administration is proposing, is not sustained after the first year, and will not keep people in education.
The last group for whom this plan is not good are the taxpayers in New Mexico, as millions of dollars pour out of our state to develop the expertise elsewhere. We could even be using this exact same evaluation system, Teachscape uses the Danielson Rubric, but we can use that same rubric for free, on existing internet infrastructure, that works better than Teachscape, such as Google Docs, or other freely available resources.  We could then also be building a professional library of lesson plans that could even become open source textbooks, rather than launching our plans and ideas into cyberspace for nobody to ever see again.
 
Thank you for listening, and thank your for your service to the public.
 
 
 
 

 

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