I’ve spent the past five years embedded in the education field. I am a founder and the prior CEO of a group that manages a charter school network with 4500 students and a staff of 400+. What I’ve learned, from an insiders vantage point, is that TEACHERS are the most important part of educating your child. We focus so much on curriculum and testing as the end all and be all measure of a school. Of course, academics and those scores are important, but the questions parents should be asking is ‘What about the emotional and character education aspect of my child’s development?’ A school that can get both the academics and character right will be full with parents clamoring to get their children in.
We got there through No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top, and Common Core with well meaning top down initiatives designed to focus money and attention where it was needed most…or so we thought.
An end of year test is easy administered and a quick way to say this school is good and this school is bad. What we missed in the focus on one big state test is that it leads some schools towards a drill and kill approach to covering facts and driving home standards above all else. In speaking with a seasoned middle school math teacher from one of our areas top academic public schools, I asked her how the academic results were achieved. Her answer was that the entire school focused only on test results. Gone was the art programs, the social studies. Students performed well on the end of year tests in Math and English but when they showed up in August for a new school year, the concepts that were drilled into them without meaning or context were sadly gone.
The hyper-focus on test outcomes by some school systems is actually at the expense of the joy of learning. The power of connection and deep relationships between a student and a teacher can and will lead to greater academic outcomes. The teachers I get the pleasure to work with, day in and day out, make the connections and pour their heart into the students in their classroom. Sure we focus on academic achievement, but we focus just as hard on character development. I have come to learn, from watching and research what works in schools, the dual focus is critical, and without a powerful teacher in the classroom, ready and willing to put the effort into creating a lasting and impactful relationship, neither goal will be achieved.
If you are a parent, think about what you want your child to look like as a young adult. Then look at the school you are enrolled in and ask yourself; “Is My School Focusing In The Right Areas?”
From Mauldin – HERE
My colleague John Mauldin recently reviewed an interesting new book, The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, by Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn. John talked about how one or two companies now dominate many economic sectors.
Those are exactly the kind of companies that made Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, one of the greatest stock pickers in history. Tepper and Hearn call Buffett the “antithesis of capitalism.” Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Buffett loves monopolies and hates competition. Buffett has said at his investment meetings that “the nature of capitalism is that if you’ve got a good business, someone is always wanting to take it away from you and improve on it.” And in his annual reports, he has approvingly quoted Peter Lynch, “Competition may prove hazardous to human wealth.” And how true that is. What is good for the monopolist is not good for capitalism. Buffett and Munger [Charlie Munger is vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway] always tried to buy companies that have monopoly-like status. Once, asked at an annual meeting what his ideal business was, [Buffett] argued it was one that had “high pricing power, a monopoly.” The message is clear: If you’re investing in a business with competition, you’re doing it wrong.
Unsurprisingly, his initial business purchases were newspapers in towns with no competition. According to his friend Sandy Gottesman, “Warren likens owning a monopoly or market-dominant newspaper to owning an unregulated toll bridge. You have relative freedom to increase rates when and as much as you want.” Back in the days before the Internet, people got their news from their local paper. Buffett understood that even a fool could make money with a monopoly, “If you’ve got a good enough business, if you have a monopoly newspaper… your idiot nephew could run it.” With that line of reasoning, in 1977 Buffett purchased the Buffalo Evening News, and then launched a Sunday edition to drive his competitor, the Buffalo Courier-Express, out of business. By 1986, the renamed Buffalo News was a local monopoly.
Over the years, he followed his philosophy of buying into industries with little competition. If he can’t buy a monopoly, he’ll buy a duopoly. And if he can’t buy a duopoly, he’ll settle for an oligopoly.
Buffett’s record speaks for itself. Buffett was one of the biggest shareholders in Moody’s Corporation, a ratings agency that shares an effective duopoly with Standard & Poor’s. (You might remember they rated the toxic subprime junk bonds that blew up the economy as AAA gold). He and his lieutenants bought shares in DaVita, which has a price- gouging duopoly in the kidney dialysis business. (They have paid hundreds of millions to resolve allegations of illegal kickbacks.) He’s owned shares in Visa and MasterCard, which are a duopoly in credit card payments. He also owns Wells Fargo and Bank of America , which dominate banking in many states. (Wells Fargo recently created millions of fraudulent savings and checking accounts in order charge more fees to depositors.) In 2010, he fully acquired railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is a local monopoly at this stage. He has owned Republic Services Group, a company that bought its largest competitor to have a duopoly in waste management. He has owned UPS, which has a duopoly with FedEx in domestic shipping. He bought all four major airline stocks after they merged and turned into an oligopoly. Lately he’s been buying utility companies that are local monopolies.
We could go on, but you’re probably noticing a pattern. He really doesn’t like competition.
Michael Munger on Crony Capitalism from EconoTalk Podcast – HERE
Feb 25 2019
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether real capitalism is unstable and leads inevitably to crony capitalism. They also discuss ways to prevent the descent into cronyism and speculate on their own blind spots.
Listen to the interview HERE – it’s a great debate on the forces of capitalism and the state of where we are as a world.
How to Use Gratitude to Build Culture
Schools looking to start the work of using gratitude to build their culture can draw upon a variety of resources. These resources include specific practices, lessons, and tools to help provide access and coherence to the implementation.
The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley is an authority in gratitude practices and research. These practices are modular and organized to be easy to implement with students.
Character Lab, founded by Angela Duckworth, has produced playbooks to support teachers implementing lessons to develop character. Their most recent playbook is the Gratitude Playbook, which includes activities and resources to start a classroom gratitude practice.
BetterLesson’s library of Instructional Strategies is an easy place for teachers to identify and implement field-tested strategies, tech tools, and research. Their curated suggestions for gratitude are particularly well suited for younger students.
Tremendousness – Science of Gratitude – Video 2:07
This two minute video is a great starting point for introducing the concept of gratitude, particularly the science behind it and how gratitude changes the brain.
The Greater Good Science Center has two curricula available on it’s website, one for a K-8 audience and the other for middle and high school students. The curricula include age-appropriate activities, facilitation notes, and resources for thoughtful and effective implementation.
A curriculum and web app that builds school culture and belonging using gratitude. Students and staff send digital thank you notes and complete teacher-led reflections to recognize and reinforce positive behaviors.
Thnx4 is an online, sharable gratitude journal from the Greater Good Science Center that helps people express gratitude for the goodness in their lives.
Every Student Deserves to Be Seen, Appreciated, and Belong
“I like it because we get to get in touch with people we usually don’t talk to and it makes us feel better and like we are more a part of our community,” said Jose*, a 2nd grade student at All Souls Catholic School in South San Francisco, one of the first schools to pilot GiveThx in Spring 2018. His neighbor Veronica* put her hand up as he finished and started speaking excitedly at the same time, “I like how I get to tell people how I feel about them but don’t have to tell everybody out loud.”
My time with Jose and Veronica’s school confirmed a few important things for me. First, people from all backgrounds, young and old, student and teacher, have the same desire to be appreciated and feel like they belong. Their relationships are the fertile ground for their personal and academic growth. Second, gratitude is for everyone and ideal for building school culture. Making the practice accessible for all students is important for building positive relationships, self-esteem, and community.
Many schools wrestle with creating a healthy culture that supports student wellbeing and achievement. The success LPS experienced using gratitude in safe, accessible, and effective ways makes the case for other schools to add gratitude practice to their culture-building toolkit.
For more, see:
- 25 Reasons to Give Thanks for Teachers
- Trauma-Supported Education and Educator SEL Training is Vital for The Classroom
- 3 Keys to Educating the Whole Child
Michael Fauteux is the Innovator in Residence at Leadership Public Schools and the Co-founder of GiveThx. You can follow him at @mikefauteux.
Nov 23, 2014, 06:12pm – FORBES
7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round
Amy MorinContributorPsychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author
- Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with li
It’s that time of year where many people begin thinking about everything they have to be thankful for. Although it’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.
In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do. Her books are translated into more than 30 languages. She’s also a lecturer at Northeastern Univ…MORE
Give a listen to this interview on NPR’s Hidden Brain. The sociological science behind neighborhoods, families, race, economics, and success in American schools is telling.
Hidden Brain – NPR
Zip Code is Destiny – HERE
Zip Code Is Destiny – HERE
Reminds me of the Waiting For Superman documentary and the cause and effect argument between bad neighborhoods and bad schools.
There’s a core belief embedded in the story of the United States: the American Dream. The possibility of climbing the economic ladder is central to that dream. This week we speak with Raj Chetty, one of the most influential economists alive today, about the state of economic mobility in the U.S. and whether the notion of the American Dream is still useful. For more information about the research in this episode, visit https://n.pr/2z8cvSs.
In an effort to identify educational strategies that can help improve American schools following is an interview with Daniel Goleman on his break out bestseller, Emotional Intelligence. I remember reading his book and putting the theories in the book into practice.
In this 35 minute interview, Goleman talks about teaching Emotional Intelligence in schools to which I say; ‘heck yeah!’
Do you have a good sense of how others see the world? Psychologist, journalist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman discusses his ground-breaking research on emotional intelligence. Daniel explains how we can enhance and manage our emotions to expand our brain capacity. As a pioneer in the emotional and social intelligence movement, Daniel’s research changed the way we look at what it means to be smart. He explains how people can sharpen their emotional intelligence to improve their relationships, work and even the empathy they have for others. Daniel wrote for “The New York Times” for 12 years, specializing in psychology and brain sciences. He has also authored more than 10 books on psychology, education and leadership, including the 1995 bestseller “Emotional Intelligence,” which has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.
New Atlas – The new system, which the team calls Thermal Energy Grid Storage-Multi-Junction Photovoltaics (TEGS-MPV), is based on the molten salt batteries that sit at the heart of grid-scale energy storage systems like concentrated solar. But there are a few problems with salt as a storage medium – for one, it becomes quite corrosive when the heat is cranked up.
“The reason that technology is interesting is, once you do this process of focusing the light to get heat, you can store heat much more cheaply than you can store electricity,” says Asegun Henry, lead researcher on the study. “This technology has been around for a while, but the thinking has been that its cost will never get low enough to compete with natural gas. So there was a push to operate at much higher temperatures, so you could use a more efficient heat engine and get the cost down.”
Alphabet’s hot salt energy-storage project becomes its own company (Google – Alphabet)
Malta is working on a megawatt-scale pilot plant.
Alphabet’s X division has played host to a string of experimental ideas, and another one is spinning out as an independent business. Malta uses cheap, abundant materials including salt, anti-freeze and steel to store power at grid scale.
Malta taps into the laws of thermodynamics to store renewable and fossil energy as heat in molten salt and cold in low-temperature anti-freeze until it’s needed — you probably still need electricity at night, when the sun isn’t shining on your local solar farm. The company is working on a pilot plant, backed by $26 million from its first funding round, which was led by a fund Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg are involved with.
Power storage is often a cumbersome, expensive problem, particularly for the likes of wind and solar farms. Providing them with a reliable, inexpensive way to keep electricity in reserve could cut down on waste, while helping renewable energy companies find the bandwidth to generate more power.
Spend a couple of hours on this podcast and you won’t be disappointed. The banter and ability for Brand and Owen to articulate their belief systems individual impressively. Note the pace, the quickness of the back and forth and the use of logical fallacies in their back and forth.
What is Utopia? Is it
An explosive conversation with controversial conservative thinker Candace Owen – a staunch advocate for the free market, capitalism and Donald Trump. Listen to some heated debates about the pros and cons of the left and the right and an attempt at negotiating what utopia might look like!
Check out this four-part discussion on the philosophy and ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche. Famous for his God Is Dead quote, learn what was behind the statement and how we as a society are worse off because of it.
Stephen West – from Philosophize This! – For anyone interested in an educational podcast about philosophy where you don’t need to be a graduate-level philosopher to understand it. In chronological order, the thinkers and ideas that forged the world we live in are broken down and explained.
The connection with Nazi Germany is explained away in one of these episodes as his sisters
Nietzsche is a fascinating figure who ultimately went mad. This first episode is a bit hard to follow but sets up the next few episodes. I had to listen to these a couple of times to pick up all the nuances.
The part I’m
Pain is good? After hearing how Nietzsche describes the concept of living on the edge and feeling the full range of emotions from pain to happiness, I sort of get it. The analogy of the CAMEL – LION
Business, like the great planes of Africa, you better be faster and more aware than the next guy or you’re going to be eaten. Love this CNBC story…love it so much I live it in my organizations.
I love this; It doesn’t matter if you’re at the top or the bottom of the food chain, you better be on your game.