First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  Each entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more about the author, Entry #1.  Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Conversation about education starts Entry #153. Jordan and JC, a long-time friend (and frequent character) are having dinner. Time of year – just about when school starts.  End of previous entry, Jordan states, “What society can do is for kids who caught a bad break with parents, or made a stupid decision and quit school, we will help you get your education.”

010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJC: How are you going to help these kids?”

Jordan: “You mean how are we going to help them.  Go back to an earlier part of this conversation — we talked about setting clear, easy-to-understand goals.”

JC: “I agree with the goal setting.  Who’s really going to set the goals, the local school board?”

Jordan:  “No.  That has been the problem.  Too much variation in quality among districts.”

JC:  “Then there has to be a national standard.  With a national standard, do local school boards decide how to achieve to the goal…at least within reason?”

TurtleneckJordan: “Exactly. As much as I am for national standards, I also realize that executing to achieve a national standard might be different in California than in Charlotte or New York. Each area has certain challenges that are unique to the area.”

JC: “OK, I’ll buy the argument for a national standard.  But why let the local districts decide how to achieve?  There will be so much variation, which seems to defeat the purpose.”

Jordan: “We need buy in to make this work.  People become more committed to a achieving a goal when they have some input. Allowing the local communities some degree of freedom is not only necessary but a smart move to get local participation and commitment.”

JC: “Will having higher-level goals help get rid of what seems to be the ‘solution de jour’ for education?”

Jordan: “I hope so.  No doubt it will take a few years.  By the way, some specific proposal come to mind as a solution de jour?”

JC: “The most recent is from your current location, Charlotte.”

newspaperJordan: “I didn’t have time to read the Charlotte Observer this morning. What’s the latest proposal?”

JC: “The school board wants each school to have a limited percentage of kids below the poverty line. I guess the school board thinks the ‘education fairy’ is going to sprinkle pixy dust and make everything better if only so many kids are below the poverty line.”

Jordan: “That’s the kind of proposal we need to get rid of.  I understand these kids have it tough. But limiting disadvantaged kids to a certain percentage is addressing the symptom, not the cause. Besides a percentage-based plan will drive more affluent kids to private school and make it nearly impossible to recruit a top-notch superintendent.”

JC: “No.  But Charlotte is supposedly a progressive city.  What’s the issue recruiting a superintendent?”

Jordan: “Charlotte has gone through school superintendents like crap through a goosegoose.”

JC: “A bit graphic don’t you think?”

Jordan: “Maybe, but true. They’ve run off two good ones in the last 3-4 years and now refuse to promote an assistant who has 30-some years’ experience.  She knows the system inside out and add the people. Seems to me the school board ought to seek stability rather than churning the system yet again.”

JC: “What about support for teachers?”

Jordan: “North Carolina legislature gives teachers a token bonus and cannot understand why teachers are unhappy and leaving the state. NC is on a race to the bottom and is now 48th or 49th in teacher pay. A few years ago it was above the down_arrow_clip_art_22552national average.”

JC: “North Carolina seems like an example of what not to do.”

Jordan: “You got that right.  Many residents, especially those who moved from the north are dumbfounded…and frustrated.”

JC: “Hate to ask this, but are some Charlotte school board members still fighting the Civil War…or Brown v. Board?”

Jordan: “Many view the Civil War and Brown v. Board as the same issue. The school board is mostly locals. Maybe it’s time to start another civil war, but this time the war will be about education and not slavery.”

JC: “A sidebar. When you read the Charlotte Observer today (September 14, 2015), make sure you read the letters to the editor.”

070715_2218_141SenseChe3.jpgJordan: “OK, what was the letter about? No, let me guess. The Civil War.”

JC: “Bingo. And the reason the South seceded was not about slavery but because of taxes. Those damn Yankees were overtaxing the southern states and they had to secede.”

Jordan: “Taxes? I’ve never heard that before. What taxes?”

JC: “Who knows? Sorry for the interruption. What about a civil war focused on education?”

Jordan: “The strategy would be to have those damn Yankees start running for school board and state house and senate. Might take 15-20 years to secure a majority vote on school boards but the effort would be worthwhile.”

meeting-clipart-board-clip-artJC: “You need to speak more southern.  The proper term is ‘might could’ take 15-20 years.”

Jordan: “OK, might could.  In addition to Yankee candidates, we need to appeal to Yankee parents with school-age kids and older people with grandchildren.”

JC: “Want my guess about how long it will take to get control?”

Jordan: “More than 15-20 years?”

JC: “No, a lot less. Once the movement gets started, the change will occur quickly. Look what happened with the LGBT movement.”

Jordan: “I am still amazed how quickly societal attitudes changes and how quickly lives changed.”

JC: “I think most people were ready for a change but needed someone to take the lead. Then they jumped on board.”

Jordan: “Well, my friend, what are we…notice the we part…going to do about starting albert-einsteinthe ‘Teach Kids to Think’ movement?”

JC: “First, let’s call it the ‘TKT Movement – teach kids to think movement, or TKT2.”

Jordan: “I like TKT2 because the ‘squared’ part forces people to think about the acronym.”

JC: “Well, while we’re thinking, I think I need a break.”