Category: Public Schools

The Giant Account Coding Monster

“Here’s your process. It satisfies all my needs.” Even when there is lots of customer input, the more powerful party will resolve disagreements in its own favor. Even though California’s Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) is far superior the previous system and was a done deal fifteen years ago, whenever I take an assignment in

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The Case Against Books

Textbooks, that is.  I’d like to make the case that textbooks and memorization of content are at the heart of much of what is wrong with primary and secondary education in the US. I came to the United States at the age of 21.  Of course my elementary and secondary schooling is now decades old and things have surely

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Parental Involvement: Cause or Correlation?

I was in a meeting about student success.  We had broken into groups, and the question of parental involvement came up.  “Were your parents involved in your school?” I half-whispered to a fellow director, born and raised in Hong Kong. “Not at all” she said.  “Not mine either” said I (born and raised in another

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An Interview Question on a Mission

If you are going for a leadership role in the Business Services section of a school district, you are probably going to be asked something like the following in an interview. If we hire you into this role, how will you advance the mission of the school district? Not Recommended: You created this position so I don’t have to tell

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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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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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