Monthly Archives: December 2013

“Humble” Wisdom…

Please come to a public forum and share your vision for education in the region:  Monday, February 10th @6:00pm at Katahdin Elementary School

“Lose your school. Lose your community.

School administrative districts were no more than a scam and a few people have finally figured out that it would be nice to keep the control and the tax dollars in town. Oh, it would also be nice to keep the kids in town. But getting the control and the money back is the main thing. You will not get your schools back in town without a fight. There’s too much money at stake. And it’s fun to spend other people’s money.”

~Robert Karl Skoglund, “The Humble Farmer”

Gerson: Why Common Core Won’t Work

Einstein said, “I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.” He also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”


Diane Ravitch's blog

Raymond Gerson teaches at Austin Community College.

Will Common Core Produce Students Who Become Common?

By Raymond Gerson

Words can become like seeds for self-fulfilling prophecies because of the power of expectation. So let’s take a look at the words “Common Core.”

One definition for the word “common” is “of no special quality.” In other words “ordinary.” According to Roget’s Thesaurus some synonyms for the word “common” are “commonplace, everyday, ordinary, humdrum, standard, mediocre, run-of-the-mill and a dime a dozen”. Some of the antonyms are “exceptional, uncommon, extraordinary, original, excellent, noble, noteworthy, valuable and rare”. At your “core” or essence and foundation which of these would you prefer to be?

Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) a one size fits all approach that will produce commonplace students and commonness? Shouldn’t the purpose of education be to develop the whole person and to awaken the unique potential within individuals? Isn’t…

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…a Pocket Paradigm…

...a Pocket Paradigm...

Our Holiday Wish For The Teaching Profession…… …..Respect

….one of my favorite posts — there is probably a reason this went viral!  Well worth a read, or a re-read.

Merry Christmas to educators who give so generously of themselves, their expertise and advocacy for our children.  Thank you!

Musings on Life and Love » The Hardest Job Everyone Thinks They Can Do.


Notes from the Visions Committee…

…fixed the link!

Timbered Classrooms...

Many thanks to the Visions Committee for making meeting notes available….



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Notes from the Visions Committee…

Many thanks to the Visions Committee for making meeting notes available….




Brilliant analysis of Common Core by another Farragut High School student…

Many of you will remember Ethan Young

His close friend, Kenneth Ye Farragut, deserves to go viral as well.

DIARY OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER!: All I Want for Christmas:An Educator’s List!

An Educator’s wish list….. Would you share your own with us?


DIARY OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER!: All I Want for Christmas:An Educator’s List!.

Visions Committee Meeting, December 16th 5:30-7:30 @KMHS

ImageThe next meeting of the RSU 50 Visions Committee will be held December 16th @Katahdin High School 5:30-7:30.  Members of the public are welcome.  Hope to see you there, or sharing YOUR vision here on “Timbered Classrooms” 🙂

Great Things Come in Small Packages…

What other aspects of our schools do YOU cherish? How might they be enhanced?

Timbered Classrooms...

Image“…trying to make all schools like our largest ones may be disadvantageous to small schools.  The “one best system” of education envisioned by many businessmen and lawmakers may be counterproductive to producing effective small, rural schools.  When organizational members of small schools strive to become like large schools, not only do they develop an inferiority complex, they also lose sight of their strengths — their potential for developing positive relations among adults and students, for attaining a sense of community, for developing relevant educational programming, and for knowing students so well they do not need to be labeled…..”

“…small schools are not necessarily weak schools.  In fact, it seems to me, now, that rural schools are some of our finest American educational institutions.  Instead of being unfortunate institutions in regions too isolated to be harvested by the consolidation combine, small, rural schools are often places where educational excellence flows naturally. …

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Michael Petrelli, Common Core Supporter Says The Common Core is a Hypothesis ~ South Dakotans Against Common Core

Editor’s note :  This speaks to the downright Dickensian way that Bill Gates, Sue Gendron, Michael Petrelli et. al. view our children; the contrast with their aspirations for their own could not be more stark.  I saw it first-hand in Mrs. Gendron when she was Maine’s Commissioner of Education.  (Amenable to a per-pupil expenditure of $11,000 for Coastal schoolchildren, she was downright offended at the idea of the same level of investment in more rural kids. )  Bill Gates would like us to emulate the education system of Communist China…!  ..but not for his own children, certainly.  Not only is the view that some children are more worthy than others repugnant, it is dangerous….  Why do we permit billionaires, with no knowledge of education even wield influence?  ..let alone dictate their double-standards.dickens

What is that? State test results have nothing to do with college going and college graduation rates? The Bill and Melinda Gates funded Common Core Standards, are not a benchmark, by which the Bill and Melinda Gates funded charter school, High Tech High, should be judged? We know that Sidwell Friends, the affluent private school the Obama girls attend, will not be adopting or even aligning to the Common Core. So why should my children and grandchildren by judged by the Common Core and it\’s assessments?”  

Read more:

via Michael Petrelli, Common Core Supporter Says The Common Core is a Hypothesis ~ South Dakotans Against Common Core.


On The Vital Importance of the Teacher/Student Relationship…

““Governments decide they know best and they’re going to tell you what to do. The trouble is that education doesn’t go on in the committee rooms of our legislative buildings. It happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do it are the teachers and the students. And if you remove their discretion, it stops working.”” — Ken Robinson

Inspired School Directors More Important than Evaluation Systems | Rethinking Education


“I believe that small schools run by inspired directors have the best chance of meeting the needs of both teachers and students. The essential element in such a school is the close relationships between educators based on the work at hand. If a group of teachers, guided by a master teacher/principal, keeps their eye on the prize of excellence, then student growth will follow. This is more fundamental to a strong outcome than all the evaluation tools – standards and tests and forms of all kinds – at use in so many of our schools across the country.

The bottom line is that a principal needs to provide for the growth and development of her teachers. She needs to find ways for the best teachers to continue to be challenged throughout their careers. The principal should consistently articulate to the teachers that nothing is more important to the success of the school than their own growth and development. Supervision, in other words, should mostly be focused on encouraging teachers to learn more about the art and craft of teaching. Evaluation should not be confused with the more important work of this sort of supervision. The current scramble to standardize and evaluate threatens to obscure the goal.”

via Inspired School Directors More Important than Evaluation Systems | Rethinking Education.


When Education is (Big) Business


Curmudgucation: The Wrongest Sentence Ever in the CCSS Debate

blackboard“Businesses are the primary consumers of the output of our schools, so it’s a natural alliance

Curmudgucation: The Wrongest Sentence Ever in the CCSS Debate.

“If business and education represent a natural alliance, then maybe business could start acting like allies instead of ham-handed paternalistic patronizing bosses. Pick the business of anybody on the Gates Foundation board of directors. Pick any one. Now imagine me, a teacher, showing up at the CEO’s office and saying, “Hey, some of us at my high school formed a study group and we’ve come up with some recommendations about how your business should be run. And if you don’t want to listen to us, we’ll call up our friends in DC and make you listen to us.”

I can imagine lots of responses. None of them would be, “Hey, you must be my ally!”

I thank Mr. Golston for managing to crystallize so much of what’s wrong with the Gates-business crowd’s view of the entire education and Common Core situation. I would like to also point out that there is some paternalistic elitist BS in this as well, because we’re not talking about ALL education. This crowd will gain credibility with me the first time I pick up the paper and read about them marching into the main office of their child’s exclusive private school and saying, “I pay good money to you guys in tuition and endowments, and I want YOU to become a pilot program for my school reforms. We’re going to put all of these in place, here, where my child goes to school, so that I can show everybody else how great they will be.”

No, if a sentence like Golston’s turned up in the materials for an elite private school, the phone in that main office would be ringing, and it wouldn’t be to deliver congratulations. Nobody would let a sentence this wrong come anywhere near their own child.”