Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Charter schools and school choice are not the panacea for education: Ask Educators

I have worked at charter schools, I have seen good charter schools in action, and when they work, they can work very well.  I have also seen bad charter schools in action, and when they fail, it can be an absolute disaster for students, parents, and the community.

The amount of work a charter school teacher has to do is extremely high because the funding is often less than a traditional public school (unless parents kick in significantly), so as a result, even the best charter schools that I have seen have high teacher turnover.

FYI, a majority of charter schools do fail, but that is another story.

School choice vouchers sounds good when you say it out loud, but the reality is a private school is free to decline or accept any student it wants. What happens if a Muslim student wants to accept a Christian school (or vice versa)? It does happen, because parents are looking for what is best for their child. How about if that private school hits capacity? If the student leaves the private school does the money go back to public school system (no)?

Education cannot be fixed during a political season, and it certainly cannot be fixed by non-educators (no matter how well intended they are). Having a large pocket book does not make you an educator. Have you tried putting that energy into repairing or rebuilding the existing schools? I mean really doing it!

Can educators alone fix the issues? Probably not (but then again, educators do not hold the purse strings). In reality it really does take a village, and not a dysfunctional “Hatfield and McCoy” village, but a true village working towards helping everyone.

Education is still the only profession where non-professional get to tell us what we should teach, how, and when (etc). Imagine if non-medical professional tell medical professionals how to operate or treat a disease?

Include educators in the conversation or you will fail.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Keywords: Education, Educators Educational Leadership, Political Season, Public School Education

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Why is it so expensive to eat healthy?

I was buying some soy sauce the other day, when I noticed that the “low sodium” version was $2 more than the “standard” version. You mean it costs more to use the healthier version, really?

McDonald’s has a a dollar menu, where you can eat your fill, going to Jamba juice will cost you a minimum of five dollars and you will not be full. A bottle water at the movie theater will cost you $5 and a soda $2.50!

Organic vegetable at the store are separated from the non-organic, and I do no go anywhere near the organic section because you get half the amount of food.

It is cheap to eat unhealthy, it is expensive to eat healthy; heck there are no neighborhood gyms and PE anymore so kids are growing up unhealthy. Kids are getting “plugged in” instead of being sent to summer camp, because the camps are too expensive.

Time to ask ourselves: how serious are we as a country about health?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, December 16, 2016

We do not hold ourselves accountable in higher education; time to admit it

If you have worked in education long enough, you will quickly learn that educators are full of flaws.

·         The industry is highly indiscreet, despite FERPA (FAMILY EDUCATION RIGHTS PRIVACY ACT)
·         People often work in silos without collaboration
·         We do not admit when we are wrong soon enough
·         ETC

Do not get me wrong, I love my industry and our hearts are in the right place, but real change is really scary for most, and often we do not embrace the change until it is forced upon us.

Issues with accreditation did not just happen overnight, this had to have taken years to build up. Accounting and solvency issues did not just suddenly appear, mistakes are going to happen when people get promoted into positions that does not necessarily suit them. Online technology has been growing for decades, so why then are we not trying to embrace things that can help more students?
So, what is the solution? Well there is no one solution and there is no simple answer because we are in a labor-intensive industry, where egos clash, and everyone is an expert.

At the very least, we need to PRACTICE WHAT WE TEACH. We teach some really good stuff in higher educaion, we change lives, we help people better themselves; but we do not always apply this learning to ourselves.

Businesses are expecting more from us and so are our students. We need to make sure we are not just preparing students to pass a test, but to be job ready and pass life’s test.

So, the answer to the question is actually another question: as an educator in higher education what are you prepared to do make real change and achieve real success for our community?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

Monday, December 5, 2016

What kind of message does this send to your employees? #leadership #communication

This is a real message sent out to employees in regards to a holiday party:

“Please RSVP by COB Friday, December 9th.
The Coleman University Holiday Party will take place on Friday, December 16th in Hopper Hall from 6-10pm. The event will include games, raffles, and a dance floor. The cost to attend is $5 per employee and you can bring one guest at no cost.

Please pay at the front desk and RSVP by COB Friday, December 9th.

We ask employees to provide a dessert item, employees bringing dessert will get one raffle ticket (only one).”

Never mind the grammar issues in the message, never mind the acronyms that are not necessarily clear: you are charging your hardworking employees for a Christmas party! If money is an issue, perhaps just have a potluck, or maybe no party at all?

The little things are what matter, it is the little things that get noticed, and these little things are the difference between retaining your employees and losing them.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, December 2, 2016

Do you listen and take action or just hit delete and hope? A communication question

As employer and as a leader, you are going to get negative emails from employees from time to time because life happens.

How you respond to those emails can be the difference between solving a problem and creating new one. By the way, not responding at all is a negative way of responding because every person wants to know that their point has been heard.

Try and see the issue from the point of view of the employee, if you cannot, ask questions, and ask the employee what they would like to see happen. You might be able to fulfill their wish, but maybe all they wanted to do was vent; venting can be cathartic for people.

There are too many people in authority who feel they must defend and counter every argument, rather than listen, understand, and try and help a person get through the issue.

Leadership often means you must put the needs of your employees ahead of your own ego.

So before you hit that delete button, before you decide to ignore that person, ask yourself: how am I helping this person by my action (or lack of)?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is faculty governance and do you have it?

Not an easy question to answer and many institutions are trying to answer this.

Emory University:

“Casually ask faculty members at Emory how they define faculty governance, and two themes emerge. First, most seem to focus on faculty governance at the departmental or the school/college level, in which their appointment is housed. Second, they view faculty governance as a mechanism to oversee the curriculum and guide decisions about the promotion, and if applicable, tenure of a colleague. From our perspective, the need for engaged faculty governance at the university level deserves at least as much consideration, though. Such attention is especially essential during this era of the rapidly shifting landscape in higher education” 


Faculty Governance in Higher Education: “Faculty members in higher education should have primary responsibility to:
1.      Determine the curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, and other academic standards and processes.
2.      Establish the requirements for earning degrees and certificates, and authorize the administration and governing board to grant same.
3.      Exercise, where the faculty deems it appropriate, primary responsibility for determining the status of colleagues, especially appointment, reappointment, and tenure.
4.      Establish procedures for awarding promotions, sabbaticals, research support, and other rewards or perquisites.”

While not everyone is going to agree on what it is or on how it is supposed to get done, everyone should be agreeing that it needs to be done.
If faculty and administration cannot come together and create a program worthy of teaching, then it is the students that suffer. If faculty, who are the experts, are feeling like their expertise is being minimized in favor of agendas, then it is students who suffer. If the administration does not have an avenue to discuss concerns with faculty, then students suffer. There are numerous examples of schools failing because of this reason (private non-profit, for profit, and public schools alike).
Need some ideas? The ETeam is happy to help!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam