Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Taking some time off, but leaving you with a proposal

You might have noticed that the posts here have gotten pretty sporadic as of late. That's because summer is here, and things get a lot slower on the education front.

Have no fear. We'll still post things that are newsworthy as they come up, and we'll really ramp it up as we get closer to the beginning of the school year. But until then, don't count on a lot of fresh content.

In the meantime, I have a proposal.

If you're a journalism educator or a student journalist in the state of Washington, we're looking for blog contributors. We're not asking for a huge commitment; just a commitment to post once or twice a week on scholastic journalism topics that are important to you. We're ESPECIALLY looking for student voices!

If that sounds like something you might be interested in doing, contact me here so we can start working together! No previous blog experience required.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oregon student press bill signed into law

There is hope for a student press rights bill in Washington yet, as Oregon signed its version into law on Friday:

OREGON — After a series of unexpected delays, Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) signed a bill today that will protect high school and college student press rights in the state.

What began as House Bill 3279 will become the first state law that protects both high school and college student publications under a single statute and the first measure enacted since 1995 that protects the free press rights of high school students. Although the president of the Senate signed it on June 25, the governor did not put his name on the document until today because the legislative process became congested toward the end of the term, government officials said.

Friday, July 06, 2007

More thoughts on the Frederick decision

This one from Charles Haynes at The First Amendment Center. Most of the column is a rehash of the issues with Morse, but he closes with this gem, targeted at administrators who think the best way to control their schools is to control student speech:

From the conflicting accounts, I don’t know what actually happened at Frederick’s high school. But I do know that far too many schools mistakenly assume that the best way to maintain discipline is to control student expression. Draconian speech codes and censored school publications may create the appearance of order, but they breed alienation, distrust and rebellion.

It may seem counterintuitive, but students are far more likely to behave well in schools that take free speech seriously. Schools where students are given meaningful opportunities to express themselves – and to participate in decision-making about school rules – are schools where high school rebels like Joe Frederick have little or nothing to rebel against.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Understanding how your staff thinks is the key to motivation

I was driving to school one day about a month ago when I heard this report on NPR. I found it fascinating because sometimes I have a hard time understanding the mindset of my students, who so often think about the world differently than I do.

As adults, sometimes we talk about "the good old days." To us, that includes just taking pleasure in a job well done -- not doing a job because it's going to get us some kind of recognition. Well, it's not just us who struggle with students who seem to be overly sensitive to criticism or need constant praise to work hard. It's a trend that's carrying over into the workplace:

Companies are hiring consultants to help manage the "over-praised" Me Generation. The result? Kudos for showing up to work on time! Awards for getting a report in! Forget Employee of the Month — how about Employee of the Day! Some managers are resistant, saying the only praise they ever got was a paycheck.

I know I'm not always real good at doing the kinds of things the reporter talks about in this piece, and as I search for ways to motivate my staffs, I'll be trying to do some of this stuff better -- even though I often don't understand the constant need for it.