Sunday, November 2, 2014


This is an example of the Ford Institute training program. We put these up October 31st, the end result of members representing the community coming together with a finished practical beautification project for Crook County.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Teacher's Dilemma

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said: "Let me see if I've got this right:
  •       You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.
  •       You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride.
  •       You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.
  •       You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.
  •      You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.
  •       You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.
  •     You want me to do all this, and then you tell me......I have to find time to TEACH?"  (Author unknown.)  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Keep Kids Safe License Plate hit the road October 15, 2012.  GET YOURS!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NEED A JOB? Invent it!

Need to find a job? Invent it
By Thomas Friedman
Published in the bend Bulletin: April 02. 2013 4:00AM PST

When Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, describes his job today, he says he’s “a translator between two hostile tribes" — the education world and the business world, the people who teach our kids and the people who give them jobs. Wagner’s argument in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World" is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace."
This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the past generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is made obsolete faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready" but “innovation ready" — ready to add value to whatever they do.
That is a tall task. I tracked Wagner down and asked him to elaborate. “Today," he said via email, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’"
My generation had it easy. We got to “find" a job. But, more than ever, our kids will have to “invent" a job. (Fortunately, in today’s world, that’s easier and cheaper than ever before.) Sure, some will find their first job, but, given the pace of change today, they will have to reinvent, re-engineer and reimagine that job much more often than their parents if they want to advance in it.
“Every young person will continue to need basic knowledge, of course," Wagner said. “But they will need skills and motivation even more. Of these three education goals, motivation is the most critical. Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously. They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own — a disposition that will be increasingly important as many traditional careers disappear."
So what should be the focus of education reform today?
“We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and will forget as soon as the test is over," said Wagner. “Because of this, the longer kids are in school, the less motivated they become. Gallup’s recent survey showed student engagement going from 80 percent in fifth grade to 40 percent in high school. More than a century ago, we ‘reinvented’ the one-room schoolhouse and created factory schools for the industrial economy. Reimagining schools for the 21st century must be our highest priority. We need to focus more on teaching the skill and will to learn and to make a difference and bring the three most powerful ingredients of intrinsic motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose."
What does that mean for teachers and principals?
“Teachers," he said, “need to coach students to performance excellence, and principals must be instructional leaders who create the culture of collaboration required to innovate. But what gets tested is what gets taught, and so we need ‘Accountability 2.0.’ All students should have digital portfolios to show evidence of mastery of skills like critical thinking and communication, which they build up right through K-12 and postsecondary. Selective use of high-quality tests, like the College and Work Readiness Assessment, is important. Finally, teachers should be judged on evidence of improvement in students’ work through the year — instead of a score on a bubble test in May. We need lab schools where students earn a high school diploma by completing a series of skill-based ‘merit badges’ in things like entrepreneurship. And schools of education where all new teachers have ‘residencies’ with master teachers and performance standards — not content standards — must become the new normal throughout the system."
Who is doing it right?
“Finland is one of the most innovative economies in the world," he said, “and it is the only country where students leave high school ‘innovation-ready.’ They learn concepts and creativity more than facts, and have a choice of many electives — all with a shorter school day, little homework and almost no testing. In the U.S., 500 K-12 schools affiliated with Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning Initiative and a consortium of 100 school districts called EdLeader21 are developing new approaches to teaching 21st-century skills. There are also a growing number of ‘reinvented’ colleges like the Olin College of Engineering, the MIT Media Lab and the ‘D-school’ at Stanford where students learn to innovate."
— Thomas Friedman is a columnist for The New York Times  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing?

France had its problems, and we have ours now; we must choose our own path and our own future.

Join me in tomorrow's freedom!

Walt Wagner

'Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.

Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!

Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

Will you give all you can give so that our banner may advance? Some will fall and some will live. Will you stand up and take your chance? The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of France!

Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again~! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!'

From Les Miserables, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I want to extend a sincere thankyou to the 4330 people who voted for me, who still believe there is room for honesty in politics. You were able to think for yourselves and ignore the uninformed editorials.

It's difficult to talk about the cronyism, backroom deals and secrecy that underscore Crook County's "business as usual" modus operandi; let's hope that communication with citizens will at least improve to a degree that is effective.

And let's hope the judge's health improves enough that he can actually do the job, which hasn't been the case since August; this is something the public has a right to know and has been withheld.