Monthly Archives: September 2013

On hard work…

One nice thing about Sudbury schools is it gives you time to get going on the work of whatever it is that you want to be doing. No time to start on those “10,000 hours”? Why wait if you know what IT is? (BTW, I think the 10k hours thing is a little off, but my point is… get to it, if you want to!) And if you don’t know yet? That’s great too! Plenty of time to think and explore and converse! How many of us spent our 20s and 30s (and 40s and…) trying things out? Why not start earlier?

See also: Your Career is Not a Disney Movie

Leave a comment

Filed under Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Dear OpenOffice 4

Dear OpenOffice 4,

Your Calc (like Excel) application is almost perfect. I can get used to using ; instead of , in my calculations. But… can you PLEASE put at the top of the list that when someone copies and pastes (copy-and-pastes?) a column (or columns) from the app into something else — a web form, a text-editor, a word-processor — that you DO NOT copy the entire 100,000 cells that are blank! Excel does this right (just pasting the rows with content — say 1 thru 100 — and has done this right since the beginning of time (or since I recall) so please put it at the top of your bugzilla todo list! (is it in there?)


An otherwise very happy and very grateful user

Leave a comment

Filed under dear..., work

MACS and Common Core

I have been thinking about traditional school and standards lately — it’s in the news a lot. I guess as it always is, but perhaps especially because it’s the beginning of another school year.

For example, there is this recent one from the NY Times lauding Massachusetts (LINK) But is it that actually so great?

The article notes:
1. This is just one test of 8th graders
2. There is still a substantial performance gap between rich and poor
3. Schools are improving, but a big part of that is due to “teaching to the test”. So does this even matter?
4. The 95% percentile in Mass is still substantially below Singapore in the chart they report shows. So we are not that great. Perhaps this is showing MA is substantially holding back a substantial group of kids.

My points would be (as a Sudbury Valley School parent and Sudbury School advocate)
1. There are clearly deeper problems causing the rich/poor performance problems
2. What are the graduation rates at these schools?
3. Parents should choose. This is not the way I choose to educate MY KIDS. But we each should choose.
4. I remember doing science projects in elementary school — hermit crabs, measuring rainfall, observing clouds, growing plants. It was vaguely interesting, but I am pretty sure that I was not grasping any greater point trying to be made. If anything, I remember it sorta sucking the interest out of me (being forced to measure rainfall, plant growth etc)
5. My wife happened upon a random science/biology textbook in her house when she was in elementary school (her brothers?) and DEVOURED IT. By herself. On her own terms.
6. Compulsory curriculum is not needed to produce inquisitive scientists, capable adults, upstanding citizens, good people. Sudbury Valley School has been doing it for more than 40 years. There is empirical evidence.
7. There is not a “critical window” for learning science.
8. Childhood is (in my opinion) for free play with direct experience with nature and their surroundings. Sounds like a good breeding ground for scientists. Kids at SVS are fishing, discovering crayfish, etc, etc in the creek. That is priceless vs sitting around in a classroom.
9. Most schools are generally not thinking about who the kids are now, but rather worrying about who they could/should/need to be in the future. Kids are people. Right now.

Leave a comment

Filed under ageism, school, science, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Common Core

“The first question about Common Core State Standards, What will they look like?, has been answered. The answer is: Very different. The internationally benchmarked standards will emphasize creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, presentation and demonstration, problem solving, research and inquiry, and career readiness.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Knowing Something vs Doing Something

Is School Enough? (PBS, coming fall 2013)


See also:
– Tim Draper — “Why don’t schools teach more doing things?” “We don’t teach history, we teach future.”

– Seth Godin likes to say a resume is kinda useless and it is better to directly focus on projects/accomplishments. Fair enough, but a resume can do that. LINK

– I believe I have also commented here at least a few times about interesting (to me!) projects people could work if they had some spare time. Lots of things to learn and do with respect to solar air heating. And insulation. Both have very active communities on the web and some very good books to learn from as well. Another recent mention was compiling stats on education costs more clearly in each state to expand on the work the Cato Institute has done. google: “How Transparent Is Your State‚Äôs Department of Education?”

Leave a comment

Filed under person: seth godin, school, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work

10 Best Paying Jobs, No College Degree Required

Interesting list. I had thought of only 2 of these…

Leave a comment

Filed under work