Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Entscheidungen über Deutschunterricht

These are the comments I made at the April 28, 2014 meeting of the School Board.

I am of Germanic heritage. 

My children both took several years of German at Darby and received college credit for much of it.

I was a chaperone for a group of Hilliard students who spent 3 weeks traveling across German-speaking Europe.

I like German cars and German beer and have purchased a fair amount of both.

Ich habe Deutsch gelernt

Nonetheless, the resources of our community are not infinite, and we must constantly evaluate and adjust how we allocate resources to prepare our children for their future.

Depending on what list one consults, German is barely in the top ten list of first languages, although it is a few places ahead of French. Bengali, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese are all more widely spoken as a first language.

I traveled to Germany often for business. For the past 70 years, nearly all children in the former West Germany have studied English and are competent in English, and since the German Reunification almost 25 years ago, so have the children of the eastern states. It is not difficult to do business in English in Germany, although admittedly disrespectful.

While Europe and Germany will continue to be important trading partners for America, there is no question of the growing importance of Asia and the Middle East in our future. It may be time to begin reallocating our education resources relating to citizenship of the world toward those regions

Education is a people business – teachers instructing students. That means changes to programming and methods affect people. Tough decisions sometimes have to be made, and they will affect the lives of people we respect and care about.

That means we need to make these decisions in an empathetic and compassionate, but unambiguous way. No one should be left guessing.

If possible, we should allow there to be sufficient time for affected individuals to respond and adapt. If we can provide resources to facilitate the transition, that would be appropriate.

This too is a teaching moment for our students.

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 28, 2014 School Board Meeting

Here are the supplemental materials for the April 28, 2014 School Board meeting, to be held at 7pm at Scioto Darby Elementary.  Note that the Administration is posting this stuff on the district website as well.

I've added a new link to the list on the right - Curriculum.  It contains the Course of Study documents which have been presented to the Board over the past year or so. This is our curriculum - not the Common Core. You'll of course see references to some elements of the Common Core, because it's a pretty good set of standards and it makes sense to use many of them. But we add, delete and change curriculum elements as we see fit - locally.

That's why I don't understand the criticism of the Common Core, at least here in Ohio. Each local school district determines its own curriculum standards and instructional approaches to deliver that curriculum. If you want to have a conversation with me about the Common Core and Hilliard City Schools, please read these documents first.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Five Year Forecast

Here is the Five Year Forecast that will be presented at the next regular meeting to the School Board by Treasurer Brian Wilson.

click to enlarge
The changes are slight from the last forecast, approved October 2013, and shows a small increase in the projected FY18 end of year cash balance. It shows us in good shape to be able to wait until 2015 before asking the voters for another levy, my estimate around 5 to 5.5 mills. We could even wait another year, but that would demand a levy in excess of 8 mills to fund.

It might be worth reviewing the article I wrote in 2011 about the four big Budget Knobs, those being: 1) our cash reserve balance; 2) our spending rate growth, 3) when we want the next levy to be on the ballot, and 4) how large we should plan for that levy to be.

One of the unfortunate side effects of losing the old SaveHilliardSchools.org domain is any of the links in the blog which refer to that domain are now broken. I'll experiment with fixing that when I have a chance. Sorry for the aggravation.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I must have missed the notices to renew the domain name I've held since 2006 - SaveHilliardSchools.org.  It is now apparently in the possession of Majid Hussain, who lives in Birmingham, England. One of the many kinds of entrepreneurs on the Internet - those who somehow find out about expiring domains and snatch them up, hoping to collect a "ransom" to give them back.

Fortunately, that doesn't mean the hundreds of articles and years of work have been lost. I've had the domain "EducateHilliard.com" registered but dormant for several years, so have put it back into service for this blog. I'll put the word out of the change, and hope that folks find their way back. Meanwhile perhaps the scads of spam comments will stop.

All the 400+ articles I've written are still here, and folks should still find them when doing a Google etc search if they're looking for this kind of information.