The Potholes in Education

I agree.  My topic and thoughts today sound odd.  I stand accused of thinking too much about the challenges in education, even when sitting in a long line of cars out at the coast of Oregon.  A large section of Highway 101 was being repaired for potholes.  In the section I was at, it is only a two lane road and the wait ended up to be about 15 minutes going and coming.  I was not driving, so I looked up how much potholes cost the American people - billions of dollars.  AAA reports the cost of automobile damage resulting…

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Public Education in the United States: From an A to a C- in 60 Years

HOW AND WHY IT HAPPENED. WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO REVERSE IT. The Golden Age of U.S. Public Education The “Golden Age” of public education culminated in the 1950s. It had steadily improved from one-room schools to become comprehensive, twelve-year systems. It was viewed as the primary means of upward social mobility. U.S. schools consistently ranked among the top tier in International Assessments. Schools were comfortably financed locally through property taxes. School support was widespread, bolstered by local control. The institutions of higher learning were generally satisfied with the high school graduates they were receiving. The workforce had little difficulty…

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SOI Career Guidance

Two recent private female clients of mine, both historically considered “misfits” by their schools and parents, took the SOI-ALA computer test. I was struck by the similarities in profiles: high creativity (DFU & DMU) and low evaluation. My mother, Mary Meeker, identified years ago a pattern of the struggling creatively gifted. Both of these girls have had difficulty keeping jobs and finding work that was meaningful. Both had creativity scores above the 98th percentile. Evaluation scores were below the 10th percentile. They both reported that they not only cannot make good decisions about the jobs they choose, but that they…

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SOI National Workshop Highlights 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed attending the SOI National Workshop in Lubbock in January 2016. Whenever or wherever I hear Diane Hochstein speak, I always hear little sayings or quotes that are amazing and sometimes life-changing. I used to attend workshops and listen intently without writing down these “gems.” I finally learned at this workshop to write these quotes down so I could remember them forever. This year we also had the privilege of learning from the experience of Dylan Fitzpatrick. First, I want to share with you Dylan’s beliefs: there are no bad children; work with children because they are gifts;…

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Getting Back to the Basic of Education

“This is so frustrating!” “It’s too hard!” “I can’t do it anymore!”  “Why are you making us learn this?” One would think those statements are coming from students in the classroom, but they are actually coming from the teachers. Have you heard the saying, “They are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good”? How sad that this nation has become so fixated on “racing to the top” of the education mountain that we are blinded to the fact that we have caused anxiety, heartache, and disillusionment in our teachers. At what point do we make the change back…

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There Is Always Time To Speak Words That Inspire

I can vividly remember the moments when someone spoke directly to me with kind words that helped define how I thought about myself. One such memory was as far back as 11 years old. I perhaps did not interpret the words to mean that I was being viewed as trustworthy and dependable, but all these years later I recognize the gift of my teacher’s words. Being a very shy child, when Mr. Schneider asked for my help and shared his respect for me, I began to see myself differently. Other moments of hearing sincere words spoken to me have continued…

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I Can Do It When It’s Tough: SOI Training

Happy 2016! As I was contemplating our success and challenges over the past year, while looking forward to the new year, I realized there is a key value in using the SOI philosophy: perseverance. Perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” I love the synonyms for perseverance: tenacity, determination, staying power, indefatigability, purposefulness; patience, endurance, application, diligence, dedication, commitment, doggedness, tirelessness, stamina; intransigence, obstinacy; stick-to-it-iveness.” When working with our children and their parents, the process of overcoming learning barriers through training is not easy or quick; it is a not sprint but…

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My SOI Journey So Far!

In August 2013, I was hired as an assistant activity leader for the Kid Zone Enrichment Program. Six months later, I was promoted to activity leader and put in charge of the kindergarten and first grade club room. My supervisor, Dylan Fitzpatrick, told me I was perfect for SOI and that I would love it. With learning the exercises, asking questions, and watching Dylan work with my kiddos, I finally got the hang of it! Dylan continued to support me, answer my questions, guide me every step of the way, and teach me as I thirsted for more. At first…

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SOI From the Perspective of an Educator

Early in the 1990s, I knew in no unmistakable terms that I was to serve “the least of these.” Throughout my career as an educator, I endeavored to do that. But late in 2014, I began to ponder the question again with greater intensity: “Who ARE the least of these that I am compelled to serve?” Since I had spent a good deal of my time in socioeconomically disadvantaged schools, I had always assumed it was “the poor.” But recently, as I began working with a broader range of students, I realized that “the least of these” fit into an…

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SOI and the Art of Kung Fu

When most people think about “kung fu” they immediately think about Chinese martial arts, not SOI. I have dedicated a large portion of the last 10 years of my life to the study of Chinese martial arts with one of the world’s last true masters. There are many Chinese martial arts styles which fall under the heading of kung fu: Tai Chi, Wudang, Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, Shoalin, Wushu, amongst many others. But, you might be surprised to know that “kung fu” actually translates as simply “hard work”. Calligraphists, artists, athletes, chefs, and school children in China are all…

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