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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prince George's County should explore creative change in the public school system

               After reading today's Washington Post story on Rocketship Charter Schools success in California, my thoughts naturally turned to Prince George's County.[1] One could easily imagine inviting the charter school here, but I wonder why the public school system itself could not find a way to think creatively and, in consultation with community and parents, try out a similar program at a few existing public schools in the county.

               Erin Richards of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that "Rocketship has been noted for producing high scores on standardized tests with pupils who are predominantly Latino and poor. The schools combine tutor-led computer instruction with face-to-face teaching and get many teachers from Teach for America."[2] Wouldn't it be exciting to report the same for the Prince George's County School System?

               The novel model combines “face-to-face” education in a specific place (what used to be called “school”) with online instruction in “hybrid” educational product. This novel system differs from "blended learning" because the computers are not actually “blended” with face-to-face instruction in the same classroom.[3]

               In the autumn of 2013, Milwaukee is planning to establish K-5 charter schools would serve up to 500 students each for a total enrollment of 4,000 students by 2017. This of course will bring added pressure on its existing school system. An unintended outcome would be to funnel motivated parents to spend the time to find the charter schools, leaving the struggling unsupported behind in the compromised public school system.

               Prince George's County needs to explore creative changes for the future good of the public school system while at the same time supporting its mission of excellence.  

[1] Lyndsey Layton. 2012. Is a charter school chain called Rocketship ready to soar across America? © 1996-2012 The Washington Post. [accessed July 30, 2012]
[2] Erin Richards. 2012. California-based Rocketship Education launching charter schools in Milwaukee. © Copyright 2009- 2012, Journal Sentinel, Inc. [accessed July 30, 2012]
[3] Jonathan Schorr and Deborah McGriff. 2011. Future Schools. Copyright © 2011 President & Fellows of Harvard College. [accessed July 30, 2012]

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