Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
Below is an excerpt by one of my Master's students from our online discussions about data-driven schooling practices. I liked the emphasis on mindful precedent...
The last chapter [of On Common Ground] talked about barriers to action. Full disclosure: I am usually one of them.
The fifth barrier is described aptly as mindless precedent. In other words, some teachers will simply and automatically reject change because that's not the way it's always been done. Trust me when I say I love this phrase. To me, it helps explain some of the dumber "traditions" of high schools, ranging from prom queens to early senior graduation to valedictorian speeches at commencement. It's everywhere, and it's not going away.
However, I would like to ask about mindFUL precedent. Many times in administration I've detected (and/or endured) a quick dismissal those who question whether or not a reform is a good idea. Given that we've been reforming schools for about a century now, and still have the same basic problems (some learn much, many learn, most don't learn enough) there is validity in some of those questions. At the beginning of last year two of our administers told our faculty on the first day back to school that the school is going to do "what's best for kids" and that those who weren't on board should find another job. Welcome back, indeed. Immediately most of our faculty tuned them out.
Reform efforts are critical. Continuing pursuit of better educational delivery is essential, and morally compelled. Reform must be completed in a school that is built on a foundation of trust, respect, and humility. If we as administrators pretend to have all of the answers, there are going to be a lot of people that suffer because of it. Calls to action are good, but we better know where we're going, why we're going, and how we're going to get there.
When do leaders fall into the trap of ignoring mindFUL precedent? What are some things that we can do to avoid doing so? And how can we tell the difference between mindful and mindless precedent?
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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