New Orleans : Getting Socially Connected

In order to ready myself for this New Orleans trip, I’ve been forced to clean up my social media act. I’m in the process of putting all my New York articles on the shelf and opening a new communication path for my New Orleans articles, then another for Paris.

One of the first things on my to-do-list was to connect with the other participants on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, and other social portals. I had no idea how much time this would take.

25 winners of the NOLA bound trip to New OrleansLinkedIn sounded like an easy first project. Go find 24 people, click the buttons and wait for them to accept me. Simple, right?

No, ma’am. We’ve got these young whippersnappers who want to start conversations on LinkedIn. ‘Let’s get to know each other.’ Reeled me right in. I’ve spent two hours this morning opining on what could stop crime in New Orleans, like I know. Or what can solve the educational problem they have in the Big Easy. Oh, baby, they found my hot button.

My latest comment:

I actually heard one of our school board members make an off-handed comment during a recent meeting. No one really picked up on it, but I can’t forget it. She said “every child should have their own IEP” { individual education plan, usually prepared for special needs children – listing their strengths and weaknesses } Of course that would be prohibitively expensive, but just imagine if we could identify each child’s TALENTS and build upon them. Instead we identify their WEAKNESSES, drill in their heads that they are failures, and drive them away from learning. Last time I checked, God gave us all different talents for a reason.

As I read over my comment, maybe it would NOT be prohibitively expensive. In the long run we might save bookoodles of money on enrichment programs, tutors, behavioral issues, et al.

Another big change we must make is in testing. Most of the tests we administer to our children evaluate only the “left side’ of their brains. So many of our kids who disengage in school are ‘right’ brain kids. These kids are potential architects, web designers, entrepreneurs, writers, scientists . . . anyone who is innovative and creative. Creativity in AmericaHere at Univ of Georgia we have a department called he Torrance Center. For years they’ve administered a standardized test which identifies a child’s creative potential. They were featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine last summer.

We all agree we need some sort of testing device. But why not marry the two, making a more balanced version so it will give us a more accurate assessment of a child’s abilities. I’m happy to see that many colleges across the US (NYU, Univ of Texas, Wake Forest to name a few) are not mandating the ACT or SAT for entrance. They are recognizing that those tests no longer hold the key to finding the brightest children.

Just found this organization, working on this very topic: http://www.fairtest.org/

As you see, I’m very passionate about education reform. No, I don’t think charter is the answer. It’s simply a band-aid to cover up the real problems.

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Yep, this New Orleans NOLABound trip is going to fun. As they say out there at Six Flags, “It’s gonna be a real Mindbender!”

. . . but I better get my mind on my paying business so I can afford to eat between now and March 14th when I leave.

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