Month: January 2014

How Can I Talk to You About School Spending?

There are always a few diehard policy wonks and spending watchdogs at school board meetings.  District staff know their names.  We greet them with a polite nod and sometimes stop for a brief chat.  In a larger district you’ll see the occasional print reporter recording and taking notes.  Every now and then a television crew will show up to get

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Reasons and Excuses, Bali Edition

My grandfather used to say “reasons are not excuses,” meaning that just because you have a reason, don’t expect that to function as an excuse to relieve you of the consequences of your actions. I used to plan our family vacations down to the gnat’s eyelash.  For each trip I would make a binder that functioned as a

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Reasons, Excuses, Rationalizations

My mother recently had a fence replaced.  The “Fence Guy” was a self-employed franchisee for a national chain.  When he did not show up on the appointed day my mother left three unreturned messages before complaining to the franchisor.  Fence Guy eventually called back and said he was behind and he would be there in three weeks. 

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Peeking Behind the Curtain

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!  Most of us have seen the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”  The mighty Oz is a fearful sight until Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal an ordinary man pulling levers and talking into a microphone. The lesson is that sometimes the awesome and magical turn out to be an

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Fave Five

A message presented with humor and imagination is the common theme in these wonderful blogs. A brand new blog that immediately drew my attention is  Movie Hugs Will Kill You.  Tim’s charming and engaging wry humor is launched at those things in everyday life made worse by unrealistic expectations. The Idiot Economist explains economics to the rest of us.

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Sutter Brown: Philosopher King, I mean Dog

I think I officially have a crush on Jerry Brown.  What chief executive on earth in an address to the combined legislature of his state would hand out playing cards featuring his dog? The various playing cards have a picture of his dog on one side, with cute doggy sayings about budget restraint.  The other side of each

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Billion with a “B” for iPads

I highly recommend the following commentary in the LA School Report:  If iPads are the answer, what’s the question?  The author interviewed tech savvy LA Unified students, who also happen to be in the target demographic for the iPad purchase (students of color in south LA and Watts).  One of the student responds: “What I’m struggling to

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Resources for Aspiring School Business Leaders

Continuing my series for future school business leaders, I offer short commentaries on some of the most useful technical and policy resources for California school business aspirants.  In no particular order, here they are: 1.  School Services of California.  This is a subscription service.  If you are in California it is likely that your school district is a

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Proposition 98 Forecasting and Finagling

Dear aspiring school business leader, My recent post on California’s Proposition 13 was for you. This post is about Proposition 98.  Together, these represent the two voter initiatives that you MUST understand.  Start with the Wikipedia entries for both. This gives you a general overview.  Then read the Legislative Analyst’s Prop 98 Analysis.  If you find this intolerably dull,

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How Bad is too Bad? How Much is Enough?

Click on this map for some interesting data, courtesy of BestEducationDegrees.com. The statistics for my state, California, are particularly bleak. Given the current hoopla about the new funding formula, I thought it might be useful to step back and ask a more fundamental question. Does the state collect enough revenue to support education to the extent that

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