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The New Secretary of Education Needs Better Ideas

| Elena Aguilar

I'm pretty disappointed in Barack Obama's selection of Arne Duncan for U.S. secretary of education. Devastated, to be honest. I don't get it -- a secretary of education who has never been a teacher? Who has never taught a single course? Who never attended a public school? Who doesn't send his own children to a public school?

It's not just his experience -- or lack of experience -- that disappoints me. I don't believe the headlines touting that he has transformed the Chicago Public Schools. A little digging into those claims reveals that the achievement gap between black and Latino kids and white students has grown during Duncan's tenure, along with a whole lot of other disturbing information about how he made the gains he did, and who they benefited. Bush's secretary of education has nothing but praise for Duncan. He supports No Child Left Behind. I really don't care that he can play basketball.

But let me quickly ground this disappointment in the life of one kid, a former student. Let's consider whether Duncan's proposals for how to improve student achievement would have worked with "Eddie" -- Eduardo Gutierrez (a pseudonym, of course).

Eddie was my student -- sometimes my obsession -- for three years, from sixth to eighth grade. He came from an overcrowded elementary school to the small public school in Oakland, California, where I taught, and was three years below grade level in English. He had repeated fourth grade and appeared to have very little interest in learning.

(Note: Arne Duncan supports making failing students repeat grades, in spite of the mounds of evidence that argues that repeating a grade does not work. It certainly hadn't helped Eddie.)

Eddie was charismatic, articulate, funny, and raging with twelve-year-old hormones; he lacked impulse control and had a frightening temper.

The truth is that, as teachers, we often have favorite kids, and I adored Eddie. He also represented so many Latino males I taught -- in his challenges, his strengths, and what he might face down the road. Eddie lived in a neighborhood rife with gangs, drugs, and dropouts. But this kid -- I felt -- could be turned around.

By the time he reached high school, Eddie was at grade level in English.

He wasn't the only one. I applied what I learned with Eddie to my other students, and dozens of students moved from the dismal ranks of "far below basic" (way below grade level) to "proficient" (grade level).

Here's what I learned about Eddie -- and education:

Bribes Didn't Work

I bribed Eddie in seventh grade. He wasn't doing much homework or taking advantage of after-school tutoring. I offered cash -- he didn't want it. I got desperate and promised a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula to see the Mayan ruins if he'd only get better grades. I am embarrassed by this now. It wasn't fair to the other kids. And it didn't work anyway.

(Note: Arne Duncan supports paying kids for good grades.)

I've since seen all kinds of material and behavioral incentive programs in middle schools. I've never seen any of them make any difference in the outcomes for low-income, "underperforming" kids.

Relevant, Engaging Literature Works

And then, to make a long story fit in a blog post, I gave Eddie good stuff to read. His all-time favorite book -- which he read twice -- was S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now.

I taught him reading-comprehension strategies and word-analysis skills so he could access the text. I put him in literature circles so he could talk in a structured format. He loved to talk. I taught him how to take his leadership abilities and use them in a discussion group so everyone gained a deeper understanding of the book.

I guided Eddie in monitoring his own learning -- in noting his growth and progress -- and in identifying areas to work on. I helped him understand how he learned best. I assessed his learning constantly -- many times a day, in many ways. I adjusted my teaching based on what I found he needed.

I also allowed Eddie to show what he'd learned in various ways. He loved acting: He wrote and directed plays to demonstrate his understanding of seventh-grade history; he performed skits from the novels he read. And for these assignments, Eddie always did his homework.

What Else Worked: The School

Project-based, arts-integrated learning took place throughout our school. I had twenty-three students in each of two classes. With only forty-six kids, I could get to know their families, have long parent-teacher conferences several times a year, and manage student portfolios, performances, and publications. I could spend high-quality, one-on-one time with kids after school or during lunch. I could get to know them as people and as learners.

I also had the autonomy to make many curricular and instructional decisions. I didn't have to teach a scripted program or drill a textbook, and I could buy whatever reading materials I wanted. I taught the California State Standards in ways and at a pace that best served my students. It worked.

Teacher Research Really Helps

At my school, we believed we'd improve student performance and outcomes by doing one thing well -- looking at our own teaching practice and making changes to it based on the data we gathered. This is often referred to as action research, or inquiry.

I did not teach to the test. In those first years, I didn't even teach any test-taking strategies. (I probably should have.) And yet my students' scores skyrocketed after sixth grade. There were many reasons why this was so, but, more than anything, I attribute it to the classroom-based research I did.

That research taught me how Eddie learned. It taught me what worked for him and what I needed to do. It showed me how to change my own practice to meet his needs on that particular day. Standardized, scripted curriculum doesn't do that. Testing, once a year, doesn't do that, either.

What Didn't Work: Closing Schools

Eddie went on to a small, new high school. He got into some bad stuff, but he kept going to school, because he loved his video-production class. He passed the California High School Exit Examination. He went to school because when he didn't, teachers called his house and the principal showed up at his door. He was on track to graduate.

Then, after Eddie's junior year, the school was closed. Facing some major problems in leadership, it had struggled for three years. But it had also provided a safe community and a somewhat engaging space for many at-risk students. Students and their families were outraged.

Sadly, very little support was given to students to find another school. Eddie couldn't deal with the social and academic challenges of entering twelfth grade at a giant high school. He'd been a new kid at a school so many times. His life outside of school was too tempting, so Eddie dropped out.

(Note: Arne Duncan is a big fan of closing schools.)

Experience and Good Salaries Make a Difference

The high school Eddie attended did have its problems. As in so many of our urban schools, the majority of the teachers were new, and inexperienced with urban teenagers or the subject matter they taught. The demands placed on them were tremendous. Like so many teachers, they needed more help.

I am so tired of seeing thousands of young, underprepared teachers plopped into Oakland's schools, only to burn out within a few years. I have tremendous empathy for them; I was there. I am also tired of seeing tens of thousands of children in this school district not getting what they need because they have one inexperienced or ineffective teacher after another and after another.

Teachers stay in the Oakland Unified School District for an average of three years. Then they go where they get paid more and have easier working conditions. I don't blame them. This is a tough district to work in, and the salary -- held up to the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area -- sucks.

Back to Arne Duncan

I don't know whether Duncan is a reformer or a pragmatist; I don't really care that he is willing to work with unions. I just know that the strategies he supports have not worked with the "low performing" students I've taught. (Read more on the debate about who Duncan is and what he believes here or here.)

Perhaps what's most devastating about this decision is that throughout Obama's campaign, his primary adviser on matters of education was Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, a contributor to Edutopia.org. She would have made a phenomenal secretary of education.

I don't know how to keep holding out hope for our impoverished, dysfunctional education system when no one at the top is talking about the stuff that makes sense on the frontlines -- like attracting, training, paying, and retaining excellent teachers, or the stuff that would make sense to Eddie.

What do you think of our new secretary of education? What advice would you give him? Please share your thoughts.

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US Secretary of Education

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As educators it is so important that we respect the leadership of this country. We have to be an example for others to emulate. It is really a discredit for an educator to call the President of United States by his first and last name without placing his title at the beginning. President Barack Obama made an excellent choice of his selection of the Secretary of Education. Leadership in education does not have to have teaching experience however, they should understand and be able to demonstrate what it takes to be a great teacher. The Secretary of Education did make the President's short-list and we as educators should respect the decision. Professionally and personnaly, I feel as though the education community should be in the strategic planning mode for the future of education to take this country into the next decade and beyond. Personal discrediting comments should not be our focal point. We should respect the President's decision individually and collectively even if we are not in agreement.

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I agree with many of your thoughts Elena. More and more I find people are placed in positions they know NOTHING about! People think education is a no brainer they can join in! I, however, is far from it. It is a complex profession where you can't teach each child the same thing in the same way! Our district is OBSESSED with testing, we use a universal screener quarterly on all our students, bi-weekly for those who are in progress monitoring, and weekly for those who are intensive. This takes away from the learning that could be going on instead of testing (which isn't always accurate!). This type of testing is supported by those who never have worked with child, much like our secretary of education who very likely mean well but do not have the expertise to make the decisions they are making.

Rowe Young (not verified)

Description of this work

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“All Screwed Up” An open letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

I have heard you speak of wanting to help children do better in
school as discussed in last night’s address. I have been working on a
project for over 25 years that you probably can relate to quite
“handily” sort of speaking. I am referring
to the fact that you are an “inverted lefty” when you write.

After testing several hundred individuals with characteristics relating
to this behavior while working at the University of CT, I have
concluded what is often occurring consequently, affecting learning.
First of all, as to what is occurring; neurologically, the area of the
parietal lob of the brain, controls what is known as proprioception.
Proprioception is the perceptual method by which we humans sense
everything around us both in distance and how we move in relationship
to what we physically control. i.e. a pencil or a base ball bat.
This work has led to an idea that this motor sense has a dimensional quality
that in some of us for genetic reasons feel that certain parts of our
bodies (in this case the dominant left hand) feel that the bottom of
a movement is the top and consequently mirrors the movement sensation,
neurologically.

When learning to write for example, an inverted counter clockwise
rotational hand movement when writing, actually is feeling as if it
is moving on the back side of the paper used. The big problem is that
the sounds that are heard and seen when learning reading and writing
skills do not match what is consequently being felt. Compensations
after a while occur, and the problems do subside. However, each time a
new symbolic concept is encountered, i.e. new math or new language
subject, the problem of overcoming the inverted movement sensation
happens again. Again, depending upon what other brain laterality
interaction occurs from one individual to another, the more
difficulties with this, can be encountered. The student who also has
aural learning issues can be drastically affected. For the most part,
the student who is only a motoric inverter with no other learning
issues will usually after awhile, succeed, often known as the “bright
under achiever”.

Because one of the ways we discovered existence of all this was
observing identified learning disabled students we tested turning
things like 2 liter bottles with the bottom hand, we laughingly felt
that the term ” all screwed up” was unknowingly thought up by the
people who unrecognizably carried the inverted movement behavior.
Being an inverted lefty and then your stating you “screwed up” made
me think that you might truly understand.

The important educational aspect of all of this, is that early
identification of the roots of such a hidden problem, so that
appropriate remedial methods are found and employed must become a
reality. I have long been searching for help to make the very simple
testing needed to identify those with the difficulty available.
Hopefully this will one day occur.

Sincerely,

Rowe Young MS
Retired UCONN Bio-Behavioral Science Dept. .
Reply

*
Rowe Young says:
August 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Presented at the 2008 Consciousness conference
Presenting Author: Rowe Young
Control No. 282
Presentation Type: Talk
Assigned Primary Class: [02.04]……..Motor control
Assigned Secondary Class: [03.11]……..Cognitive development
Abstract Title: Lost in Space- “Inverted Positioning Sensation”(IPS):as of yet Unidentified Contributing Cause For ADHD and/or LD
Abstract:
• Human reasoning has evolved in part from the integration of our ability to sense dimensionally both the front and the back side of movement and its physical position in space. It is proposed that the interaction of visual and aural senses along with motor sensory positioning mechanisms, orchestrated by the parietal lobe (proprioception), is central to the evolution of enhanced abstract reasoning. Awareness of body movement and spatial positioning is thus an overlooked, central component of the human capacity to learn. Deficits in this area we propose, can directly impact all forms of symbolic comprehension. This research suggests that movement and positioning sensory mechanisms can sometimes be flawed, producing reversals in perception of motion and position in space. Such impairment may be evidenced by reversals in the feeling of movement, inverted body part sensation, and possibly confounded by inappropriate lateral eye dominance involvement. It is hypothesized that such impairment results from genetically acquired “neural wiring.” We have labeled this impairment “inverted positioning sensation” (IPS). This research, through self report, observation, and testing using the YGLD (Young-Ginsberg Lateral Direction) assessment has identified many LD identified subjects who evidence IPS. Individuals with IPS symptoms and diagnosed LD found in 8 multigenerational families are identified in our data further suggesting a familial link. Observed and reported constellations of IPS varies from one subject to another. For example, one subject may sense inverted movements of a left foot, or sense a backward feeling right hand and/or arm. These reversed sensations can occur on one side of the body or on both, and in different body locations depending upon the subject. Several patterns related to IPS have emerged that are predictive of early academic underachievement. Usually, IPS is unrecognized by these subjects until they are asked to concentrate and report a possible difference in feeling when comparing a body part to its opposite side, and/or identified preferring to work from the bottom up on bi-manual rotational tasks. It is hypothesized that persons with IPS unknowingly learn to compensate for their misperceptions, and thus fail to recognize their presence. Individuals identified` with IPS often evidence a history of underachievement in areas where organization, written descriptions and symbolic understanding are required. Thus, classic components of much academic underachivement and or a lack of self confidence often co-occur with IPS.

Rowe Young (not verified)

Rowe Young says: August

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Rowe Young says:
August 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Presented at the 2008 Consciousness conference
Presenting Author: Rowe Young
Control No. 282
Presentation Type: Talk
Assigned Primary Class: [02.04]……..Motor control
Assigned Secondary Class: [03.11]……..Cognitive development
Abstract Title: Lost in Space- “Inverted Positioning Sensation”(IPS):as of yet Unidentified Contributing Cause For ADHD and/or LD
Abstract:
• Human reasoning has evolved in part from the integration of our ability to sense dimensionally both the front and the back side of movement and its physical position in space. It is proposed that the interaction of visual and aural senses along with motor sensory positioning mechanisms, orchestrated by the parietal lobe (proprioception), is central to the evolution of enhanced abstract reasoning. Awareness of body movement and spatial positioning is thus an overlooked, central component of the human capacity to learn. Deficits in this area we propose, can directly impact all forms of symbolic comprehension. This research suggests that movement and positioning sensory mechanisms can sometimes be flawed, producing reversals in perception of motion and position in space. Such impairment may be evidenced by reversals in the feeling of movement, inverted body part sensation, and possibly confounded by inappropriate lateral eye dominance involvement. It is hypothesized that such impairment results from genetically acquired “neural wiring.” We have labeled this impairment “inverted positioning sensation” (IPS). This research, through self report, observation, and testing using the YGLD (Young-Ginsberg Lateral Direction) assessment has identified many LD identified subjects who evidence IPS. Individuals with IPS symptoms and diagnosed LD found in 8 multigenerational families are identified in our data further suggesting a familial link. Observed and reported constellations of IPS varies from one subject to another. For example, one subject may sense inverted movements of a left foot, or sense a backward feeling right hand and/or arm. These reversed sensations can occur on one side of the body or on both, and in different body locations depending upon the subject. Several patterns related to IPS have emerged that are predictive of early academic underachievement. Usually, IPS is unrecognized by these subjects until they are asked to concentrate and report a possible difference in feeling when comparing a body part to its opposite side, and/or identified preferring to work from the bottom up on bi-manual rotational tasks. It is hypothesized that persons with IPS unknowingly learn to compensate for their misperceptions, and thus fail to recognize their presence. Individuals identified` with IPS often evidence a history of underachievement in areas where organization, written descriptions and symbolic understanding are required. Thus, classic components of much academic underachivement and or a lack of self confidence often co-occur with IPS.
Reply

Rowe Young (not verified)

Obama letter

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Hope that this information can help educators to see that the individuals with "IPS" inverted perception sensation are properly identified. Then ways to teach to inverted movement behavior will then be developed to enable these handicapped yet otherwise intelligent students to become successful in school as well as in their everyday lives.

Rick Nichols, South-BayArea, 39 next week (not verified)

Understanding Education

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Hi I'm Rick, single parent and 14-yr Journeyman Plumber (first time here).
When I was seven I rode my bike several miles to the Saratoga Library and back all by myself(?!); I had checked out twelve Hardy Boys books and the next day read five of them by noon.
When I was 10 I was the top reader in my elementary school, one of two selected for M.G.M. (mentally gifted minors program)and when I was thirteen I tested 98th percentile for reading comprehension in the nation. I also had a bad case of "classroom clowning."
In high school - I was the clown and school was the joke. The school attendance policy used to require that students be warned before they got kicked out, so in the first two months of my sophomore year I racked up 38 absences before finally catching a warning! ...never even considered college until a year or two out of high school, then I took music, creative writing, poetry, and drawing classes at West Valley J.C. (I was given a "Collegiate Arts Award" for creative writing there, in my first semester.)
Second semester saw me in "Asian Philosophy" class (I loved Eastern thought and was also reading Carlos Castaneda at the time) but the "Sicilian Dynamo" that walked in to replace the scheduled instructor broke the news that philo-sophia was not Asian, it was Greek, and we spent two weeks learning about Plato. Okay, two points:
1) I IMMEDIATELY added every philos. class I could, and the very next semester had full-credit Directed Studies with him one-on-one, discussing (learning) philos. 5 days a week (eighteen years later when he picks up the phone I still say "Maestro!")
2) I was pissed.
Why the h*ll didn't I get logic in seventh grade?!!!!!
I did my best work (at the time)as a philos. major at SCU whilst pouring over Hume's "Treatise..." and I mean, like, 'til daybreak or better - until I FINALLY figured out where he made his error... on page one. I wrote about it. Here again, two things:
1) I did not do the assignment.
2) I was not a grad. student, I was only expected to "convey an understanding of Hume's work." hunh? HUNH?! Let me emphasize: I could not UNDERSTAND Hume's enormous contribution (and I mean that) until I RECTIFIED it.
I fantasized about getting the degree and BURNING it onstage - but alas, I ended up coach-surfing, broke, and dropping out.
The point: even then, fourteen years ago, I thought education was just a mess of misinformed administrators' opinions. It was not until October 2008 that I did a two-week survey of academic journals' subject matter (GoogleScholar / advanced search + word combinations) and found the darndest things. (Hey, I've only had a 'puter for two years now, folks.)
I encourage all ya'll to do the same, it's time to "snap out of it." Are we not all familiar with Charlotte Isberyt's work? We should be. I further suggest we all review "The Obama Deception."
Can I have a job?

You're not consorting with the neo-liberal fascist pigs, are you? [please remove that!]

My name is Rick Nichols and I've taken up the baton for "transforming human understanding," but by this time have painted myself into a corner, so-to-speak... anybody REALLY care? Try me.
Unfortunately nobody else is gonna "toot my horn," so I gotta do it myself: I'm pretty sure my understanding is unsurpassed. Now I'm not BETTER than any other well-intentioned person,but conversely, nobody is better than me. (sorry, it's merely true.) I have "the pattern" vividly imprinted upon my soul, because I WANTED it.
cheers

june (not verified)

Mr, Duncan needs to be listened to

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I had no knowledge of Duncan until I listened to him being interviewed this week. Now, I'm interested in seeing what he can do before I assume that he won't do it. In fact, I was encouraged that he sees the systemic issue very clearly.
He speaks of the same concerns written about here.

His job to find good sense balance of flexible guidelines and funding so teachers can teach and students want to learn. He spoke of that.

It seems like he has goals and ideas and in fact, it's a pretty thankless job if he would be thinking glory and riches.

I have been seeing failures of government concerning our schools. I have watched new people and new ideas from teachers and past teachers that began with good hopes but didn't work out that way. I won't be quick to shoot this man down, before he has his chance.

US students are not measuring up to other countries and that is a real concern. This country needs new thinking. Teachers across the nation have listened to good ideas, high hopes, and it the system has still floundered. It hasn't worked well enough.

I wont be a nay-sayer until he has given it his try.

Hector Tapia Perez (not verified)

Eddie

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Aloha Elena,
I loved your perspective on Obama's selection for secretary of education. I was much like little Eddie. My father is from Michoacan and my mother lived in Cotulla, Texas when she was young and happens to be the tiny town where the late President LBJ was once a teacher in 1929.
Education was drilled into my young cabeza when I was young. I was told that I could become a president since a teacher in her childhood home had become our country's president after President Kennedy had been assasinated.
I was in high school from 1970 to 1975, and I made some bad decisions which included heroin abuse. I felt invisible in school and just stopped going when I turned 16. I thought I was going to make a career as an entrepreneur. I had the connections, but the problem was that the items weren't legal.
Fast forward to 1977 after an unsuccessful smuggling attemt where I returned to my barrio Sunnyside in Adrian, Michigan, I met Susan Marie Magdalene Ryan at Siena Heights University in Adrian who wasn't about to become an enabler. In one sentence, love overcame a habit of self medication with a very dangerous drug.
We became inner city teachers in Detroit. My wife taught Jalen Rose of the Fab Five fame as well as the actress, Maria Costa, her mentee. I mentored my at risk art students so that they could avoid the gangs and graduate from not only high school but also college. I mentored because I knew it worked and that the rewards are dignity and respect from all.
My RA arthritis caused me to bring my family to Kauai to live. Also my son's friend, Jesus Cristian Sanchez had gotten shot and killed over graffitti. So we chose a new life and came with only backpacks. I left my .44 cal bullet hit truck in Detroit.
I formed a team of speakers before I left Detroit so that we could service at risk populations across the nation by telling powerful stories of success through the arts and by turning the students on to screen printing. You can't just tell students to say no to drugs, you have to teach them about entrepreneurial skills. The arts offer students the power to visualize.
So I would hope that you spread the word that students have to be inspired to want to change. I propose to train schools how to teach screen printing and mural painting with a didactic message. We just painted peace murals at Kapa'a High in Kauai. Home Depot donated the paint and now requested that the young muralists from the Peer Mediation group paint a mural celebrating diversity.
Art works and inspires in the inner city as well as in Pardise on earth, Kaua'i. Our President knows all about the mana here in Kauai. I am working as as consultant in the guise of a part time teacher since the cutbacks were announced. I am currently awaiting shipment of some screen printing equipment so that we can beef up the screen printing capability at our school.
It takes one to know one is so true since I once chose to drop out, but the village responded and this great country allowed me the liberty to pursue my happiness as an artist who teaches bilingually in one of America's most dangerous cities. I left a spot for a new fresh teacher who will find some gems in Detroit. There are problems here in Kauai. We have been experiencing a high suicide rate, and the community is responding to create a safety net to be able to connect students with the appropriate services.
There are Eddies all over the country, but I haven't met a student with whom I could not connect. Deepak Chopra recently spoke here in Kauai and spoke of the importance of creativity. Before I left Detroit, I saw Jack Canfield, also a former teacher, now a very successful author, and he also spoke of the importance of visualization.
America just saw Cuba Gooding Jr. play the part of Dr. Ben Carson in the TNT movie, Gifted Hands. His story inspired me to mentor my artists because I taught at his former middle school, Wilson Middle School, in Detroit early in my career. Ben Carson graduated from Detroit Southwestern, an inner city public high school where my wife once taught Spanish.
So readers please understand that teaching in the inner city anyplace in America is very stressful, but serving the students and living in the city are some of the best memories in my life. Teach with heart, and the students will know. I came to believe they have a sixth sense. I we don't invest in our students and teach them the power to visualze and activate their dreams, we will perish as a nation.
Any teachers reading this should make Kauai their sanctuary. Come visit, experience the mana, heal, and return renewed to serve with Aloha. You all remember Fantasy Island? Come, I'll show you the falls.
Your Chicano brother in Kauai,
Aloha

Rowe Young (not verified)

Open letter to President Obama

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Below is a letter I would like to see get to President Obama. I am a
dyslexic researcher who worked many years the the University of CT
trying to get this theory of what causes a lot of incorrectly
diagnosed learning disabilities or worse yet not identifying many
students who were plagued by such problems and not identified so that
they could get the proper help, recognized. Because a lot of people
like Yale's Sally Shaywitz (who did not go along with motor causes)
recognized. The work was never taken seriously. I was good at
collecting data but had a hard time writing it up, consequently
nothing really was accomplished. If anyone on your staff has and idea
of how to get this to the President, please let me know.

Thanks,

Rowe Young

"All Screwed Up" An open letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

I have heard you speak of wanting to help children do better in
school as discussed in last night’s address. I have been working on a
project for over 25 years that you probably can relate to quite
"handily" sort of speaking. I am referring
to the fact that you are an "inverted lefty" when you write.

After testing several hundred individuals with characteristics relating
to this behavior while working at the University of CT, I have
concluded what is often occurring consequently, affecting learning.
First of all, as to what is occurring; neurologically, the area of the
parietal lob of the brain, controls what is known as proprioception.
Proprioception is the perceptual method by which we humans sense
everything around us both in distance and how we move in relationship
to what we physically control. i.e. a pencil or a base ball bat.
This work has led to an idea that this motor sense has a dimensional quality
that in some of us for genetic reasons feel that certain parts of our
bodies (in this case the dominant left hand) feel that the bottom of
a movement is the top and consequently mirrors the movement sensation,
neurologically.

When learning to write for example, an inverted counter clockwise
rotational hand movement when writing, actually is feeling as if it
is moving on the back side of the paper used. The big problem is that
the sounds that are heard and seen when learning reading and writing
skills do not match what is consequently being felt. Compensations
after a while occur, and the problems do subside. However, each time a
new symbolic concept is encountered, i.e. new math or new language
subject, the problem of overcoming the inverted movement sensation
happens again. Again, depending upon what other brain laterality
interaction occurs from one individual to another, the more
difficulties with this, can be encountered. The student who also has
aural learning issues can be drastically affected. For the most part,
the student who is only a motoric inverter with no other learning
issues will usually after awhile, succeed, often known as the "bright
under achiever".

Because one of the ways we discovered existence of all this was
observing identified learning disabled students we tested turning
things like 2 liter bottles with the bottom hand, we laughingly felt
that the term " all screwed up" was unknowingly thought up by the
people who unrecognizably carried the inverted movement behavior.
Being an inverted lefty and then your stating you "screwed up" made
me think that you might truly understand.

The important educational aspect of all of this, is that early
identification of the roots of such a hidden problem, so that
appropriate remedial methods are found and employed must become a
reality. I have long been searching for help to make the very simple
testing needed to identify those with the difficulty available.
Hopefully this will one day occur.

Sincerely,

Rowe Young MS
Retired UCONN Bio-Behavioral Science Dept. .

Matt (not verified)

Poor Harvard, Rich Mr. Duncan

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Yesterday's New York Times reported that Harvard's endowment has dipped by $8 billion, down from $37 billion, and that the university has placed a freeze on salaries for staff and nonunion staff members. In addition, Harvard has tabled expansion projects and offered early retirement packages to over 1,600 employees. If the wealthiest university in the world cannot balance its books, how are America's poorest public school districts going to keep school going? Education Secretary Arne Duncan should be jumping with joy at the prospect of doling out upwards of $100 billion, as part of the stimulus package. Chester Finn, former Education Department official, has likened the package to Christmas. Of course, none of us in education want to see this "blank check" go the way of the one Germany gave Austria at the start of World War I. What Secretary Duncan chooses to emphasize will reveal a lot about the new administration and the future direction of education in America.

It is difficult to sympathize with Harvard's plight and their circumstances mirror that of hedge fund managers who have watched their stock portfolios shrink by millions and in some cases, billions. The rich have gotten less rich, but they are far from poor. Harvard can still offer cutting edge programs and first-rate teaching, with no shortage of resources, even though the school of arts and sciences has slashed its budget by 10 percent. What will happen to schools that are underwater, or very close to the margin? Secretary Duncan has to weigh the needs of 14,000 school districts across the country, coupled with the budget mess of California, which has already cut significant amounts of education funding. In addition, the needs of under-served communities far outweigh the attention of suburban school districts, already buttressed by high property tax revenue.

Secretary Duncan should first call for an audit of all schools and school districts, and take a hard look at administrative office bloating. Many schools and school districts are layered with heavy administration, and fail to run their operations smoothly and efficiently. The last thing America needs is fewer teachers in the classroom, with class sizes already swelling beyond manageable, especially in under-served communities. Mr. Duncan needs to ask and find out from each school district what the smallest number of administrative staff are needed to keep a school running. This is not unlike the Health Care industry, where fee structures are overblown to offset administrative paper-pushing. President Obama wants to shepherd in a new era of green management and Mr. Duncan can start by creating a technology infrastructure for schools that minimizes the need for administrative staff.

Mr. Duncan would be remiss to pass over the efficient system President Obama utilized to run his campaign. Through texting, email, blogging, Facebook, etc., President Obama gathered and used so much data about his supporters that he could attend to their needs and wants in the campaign. Mr. Duncan should do the same, as he brings together a team to figure out how to disseminate these precious dollars. He needs to avoid the "well-worn" paths that Congressional financing has traveled and seek fresh pathways. The way to do this is to tap into the wealth of information he can gather in milliseconds with a carefully constructed electronic network engine. The current apparatus is akin to the limited integration of America's utility system that Thomas Friedman describes in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. There are 3,200 electric utility companies in America and traversing the grid is like taking local roads on a cross country drive. Mr. Duncan needs to overhaul and find a way to integrate the 14,000 school districts into one unified vision of 21st century education. This is a tall task, but now is the time to do it. As President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel likes to say, "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

So, while Harvard wallows in self-pity at the loss of its endowment monies, Secretary Duncan can mobilize the country's education system, find unity where there is discord, streamline administrative waste, and create new ways of running schools and school districts. President Obama's campaign could do it and Mr. Duncan's education team must do it now.

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