“Former Alabama State trustee issues scathing letter apologizing for nominating President Gwendolyn Boyd”

Here we go, again. My goodness, they just hired this woman! The majority of Black school superintendents know this play by heart. But this is a college and not the K-12 world (not a justification); you mean this also takes place on the college level? Like their K-12 counterparts these folks get the “role” confused (It’s bring, not take!); trustees should bring prestige, knowledgeable expertise, and resources (financial and contacts); all of this so that the institution can thrive and successfully perform and perfect its mission of serving students. And surprise alert: The President of the university is the person charged with the management and operation of the institution; oversight, does not mean being overbearing, and over-stepping your role! Self-service should be on a cafeteria food line, not in an educational institutional leadership position. How easy it must be to catch and kill crabs captured in a barrel; these crabs are oblivious to their situation, thinking they are in the sea (and not in a pre-eating barrel); and thinking only of creating the greatest space, by climbing over each other’s back, to individually escape; but escape to where, the cooking pot? The wounds of Self- inflicted foolishness are the hardest to heal; it is not so much what racism is doing to us; rather it is what we race each day to do to ourselves. We seek the few ceremonial crumbs that by accident fall from the dining table of those who really are in power, and think it a gourmet meal…. I feel so bad for the students, who must suffer from, but have no part in creating this tragic comedy routine. It is a shame that this woman can’t at least get a chance to fail or succeed! If it were not a driving hazard, I would just wear a bag over my head; this is so embarrassing…..



I would venture to say that in a particular case, medical education has failed when a medical doctor is not seeking to heal as many people as possible; or when that practitioner is seeking to harm rather than help patients. We often forget (or overlook) the terrible and unethical behavior exhibited during WW II by very well-trained and technically competent German scientist and medical doctors. As professional educators we must always take care that we don’t create STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) practitioners who have very competent analytical brains, but who also have very unethical and immoral hearts. If we fail to educate and engage both the mind and spirit; we could in fact unleash greater harm on the world; by helping to produce a person who is now armed with the knowledge and skills to do great acts of damage to their fellow human beings. While watching the local Alabama news yesterday, the words “cynical opportunism” came to mind. This is what happens when holding political office is reduced to: undermine and destroy anything “Obama”; even if “it hurts poor Alabamians”, Black or White. I watched as the governor (allegedly a medical doctor) and the state attorney general (not sure what he is alleged to be) expressed “glee” at the thought that thousands of poor and middle-class Alabamians (Black and White) could face the possibility of losing the federal subsidy for their health care insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act (AFA). Why is this clearly partisan court decision that is designed to hurt so many, be a cause for celebration? Now that takes a certain kind of meanness. Alabama was doing a great job, before yesterday’s court ruling, in denying many of its citizens access to quality healthcare by not taking advantage of the federally funded opportunity to expand Medicare under the ACA. I am not an anthropologist or a cultural-linguist; but I want to invent a new term: “Sub- species thinking”; that is when reptilian and mammalian brain functions over take and undue years of human evolutionary brain development. I know, the “Bible belt” thing, and yes, I dare to speak the “E” word (evolution); but my observation is that this “belt” is made out of cardboard as these Republicans engage in the harshest, lack of compassion, absence of any mercy and concern, unChristian behavior imaginable.
I always believe that education can solve all of the problems in the world; but it won’t help in this case, as I suspect that these two guys know better, but just won’t do better; thus the tag: “Cynical Opportunism”. The educational question here is, can the White citizenry come to understand that Black folks (or specifically the Black person named Obama) may be the target of the joke; but it is they who must suffer from a collateral laugh at the expense of the quality of their lives. The one blaring failure of Karl Marx is that he did not account for the deep and enduring power of racism; and how it could be used; long after slavery, years after the Civil War and Reconstruction; to neutralize, distract and convince the White American poor, working and non-working class to continually act and vote against their own economic, survival and in this case health interest. The explanation for this sad social-phenomena would require not the writings of a political-economist; but rather the creativity of a fiction writer.

*My apologies to those wonderful and thoughtful medical practitioners who do uphold the Hippocratic Oath; Bless you!

What German Soccer Can Teach Us About U.S. Education….

“How Germany went from bust to boom on the talent production line”

“…Freiburg place great emphasis on academic work, so much so that they like a selection of their staff to come from a teaching background, so that they can provide educational help whenever it is needed, including on the way to matches. It is not uncommon for players to do homework on the coach. Streich says that clubs have a moral obligation to think about what happens to those who fail to make the grade….”

“A Nation that suffered an embarrassing Euro 2000 now boasts both Champions League finalists thanks to a system that values coaches and nurtures indigenous talent.” …(And now 2014 World Cup Champions!)

It is amazing what motivated humans can accomplish; once they decide to do something. In American education we wrongly believe that “academic underachievement”; or “failure”, mysteriously arrives after a student takes a 4th or 8th grade test; that a “drop-out” is discovered in high school. The truth is that things like the so-called: “achievement gap”, “academic underachievement” and “droputism” are artificially created by a system that fails students before they even step through their first school door; and continues to fail them once they step through the school-house door. Society knows (and has always known) how to effectively educate children; regardless of racial, linguistic or socio-economic back ground, with or without educated parents. To be brutally honest; we are simply not interested in doing it, because we are not particularly interested in the children of the poor and the politically disenfranchised. If it was felt that large numbers of poorly educated children, were of interest to the wellbeing of or nation, then it would be done; and the mass educational malpractice that we presently see, would end. Many of us have been saying for years; particularly as it relates to building Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ready students; that the task was/is impossible, unless we commit to engaging children at an early age, and in a determined, consistent and exciting way. And this must be done before they absorb and accept a belief that they are not smart; and that “smartness”, STEM, reading and academic excellence is the enemy and a threat to their cultural experience. The short term “gain” of this poorly organized educational system for the poor is the production of large numbers of human raw material for social services, criminal, security-law-enforcement industries. It also serves to alleviate pressure on an economy that can only survive if there is a large number of unemployed, and unemployable underclass citizens, who despite their status continue to consume. The children of the poor have monetary value (just ask charter school companies), even as they are still in school. The sad and cynical reality is that some children serve as commodities prior to their exit from the public education system; their “underachievement and academic failure” will create a hugely lucrative “fixing failure”/”closing gaps” industry. Ironically, society’s failure to act fairly toward all children causes the entire US student population to suffer and essentially underachieve, because having low standards and low expectations for the many, leads to false high standards and expectations for the “successfully” educated politically enfranchised few. We have gone from a “Nation at Risk” to a Nation at Waste of our huge creative intellectual resource. The shrinking birth rate of the educationally favored White males, which is doing its part in the creation of the rapid “darkening” of our student population, suggest that our “old (present) plan” of educational quality based on access to finance and political power is not going to equip the US with a capable work force she will need in the future. And as “developing” nations grow their own internal need for highly skilled workers, we may find ourselves at skills (and a national security personnel shortage); as those workers may only need to look down at the ground under their feet, to see that new “land of opportunity”. But it seems Americans are not motivated to solve a problem; until they are dangerously close to appreciating what it will happen if they don’t solve the problem (i.e. The Marshall Plan, The Manhattan Project, landing a man on the moon, and the STEM educational response to the Russian satellite: Sputnik). At that point American “know-how”; determination, human and financial resources shift into full gear; and by will and skill, the problem is overwhelmed and solved!

I was struck while reading this article (always looking for an education angle); how the soccer lords of Germany responded to strong societal pressure; and their own interest in moving German soccer out of the status and role of “near-do-wells” and into the category of consistent competitive winners. First, the Germans Soccer Officials presented an interesting idea and approach; they thought: “We don’t have a shortage of good soccer players; we just have a shortage of a plan to identify and develop those players!” They could have fallen back on the practice of many European nations of just “importing” good players. But instead they choose a different and bold route. If, they thought, statistically, “good players” were basically equally distributed throughout the human population; a nation (regardless of size) could be successfully competitive if they were in some way able to just identify and nurture (coach well) their own reservoir of good players. Further, this national effort would take time and expertise. In other words, this was not to be a “fly-by-night”, “gimmicky”, “reform” project. They analyzed, identified and deconstructed what constitutes good soccer skills; and so now, “let us not leave the teaching of these skills to “random” coaching efforts; we must place competent and knowledgeable coaches with our youth football clubs.” Finally, this effort would require a national financial commitment; with no thought to a quick financial return. We have seen that with any successful American project; funding was not a barrier to success. Money is not our problem in the US, since we obviously sink a lot of it into public/charter schools; unfortunately, without any reasonable return. What is missing in our case is the will, not the ingenuity or the resources. A most interesting part of the German football program was the idea that increased attention and a focus on academic achievement on the part of their youth soccer leagues. They found that strong academic skills enhanced, rather than diminished the young person’s soccer playing skills! Study and hard work in school was formally encouraged and monitored by the coaches; take that NCAA!
Finally, I guess it really goes a long way if you love your country and want to see her succeed; and succeed, not in a faux patriotic and mean-spirited Tea-Party kind of way; but in a kindness of spirit way. When your love for your country extends to a love for its future possibilities; then anything is truly possible. We hear a great deal about international comparative studies on academic achievement; most of them useless because of the important things that they don’t take into account, like racial homogeneity and its relationship to expectations. Perhaps we could do better to study international strategies by sports authorities in other nations; but we could honestly just start by looking at our own national and international successes to figure out how we could stop disregarding so many of future problem solvers, creators, inventors, healers; future Americans.

“How Germany went from bust to boom on the talent production line”…

My Facebook Experiment on Myself

Ok, over the last 2 weeks, I have done my own Facebook (FB) psychological research on: “The capacity of FB’s postings to influence “mood and thought changes”. However, unlike the folks at FB, it was done with my permission and knowledgeable consent concerning the harm and risk. Grand Conclusion: I stop looking at Facebook for long periods of time; and interestingly I felt positive and more upbeat (Step away from the keyboard Crystal Schloss-Allen; no I did not rigorously account for even a few of the possible variables; i.e. the number of World Cup Soccer games that day, and the teams playing :-)

Hypothesis 1: The less time we spend with a constant parade of triviality; the more of the important issues of the world get into our consciousness; and the less we are distracted from our mission and calling in life; thus more contentment.

Hypothesis 2: Spending more time thinking seriously about folks (FB-“friends”) Maybe people are really more then, or less then they post. But is it posting or posturing? And, maybe it’s more revaluation than revelation; and I realized I had been spared (a contributor to a state of contentment?) from some folks TMR (too much revelation)

Hypothesis 3: I found out when I logged on, after a long period of time (days); people still decided to have babies, birthdays, and to fall in, and out of love; without my comments and input!…(Did they not realize and account for my absent advice?)

Hypothesis 4: It seems that FB people have a tremendous capacity to “move on”; there was absolutely no discussion about the seriousness of the FB-“Mood Experiment”; is this a reflection of a public’s short attention span; or the “let’s move on” factor?

Hypotheses 5: Have we totally degraded the concept of “friendship”? I think I am basically a nice guy; but 477 friends, come on! That is a number that my chronic eccentricity, tremendous desire for quiet (to hear myself, and to hear what is written in books and articles), and my secret introvertism (for 5 years I had a non-working doorbell in Washington DC, and loved it!); would never allow me to achieve…..

An Effective Understanding of the Principles of Effective Motivation…

Driving students to some conceptual or operational objective is needed; the question is how and what is truly (internally) driving them; and how is teaching methodology driven by this understanding?

The Secret of Effective Motivation..NY Times Sunday Review 7/4/14…….. “THERE are two kinds of motive for engaging in any activity: internal and instrumental. If a scientist conducts research because she wants to discover important facts about the world, that’s an internal motive, since discovering facts is inherently related to the activity of research. If she conducts research because she wants to achieve scholarly renown, that’s an instrumental motive, since the relation between fame and research is not so inherent. Often, people have both internal and instrumental motives for doing what they do.

What mix of motives — internal or instrumental or both — is most conducive to success? You might suppose that a scientist motivated by a desire to discover facts and by a desire to achieve renown will do better work than a scientist motivated by just one of those desires. Surely two motives are better than one. But as we and our colleagues argue in a paper newly published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, instrumental motives are not always an asset and can actually be counterproductive to success.”