GOP Math on Education Funding Doesn’t Add Up

On December 10, 2015, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a report entitled Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting. I discovered it from Scott McLeod’s tweet:

According to this report:

  • When adjusted for inflation, the state of Iowa has only increased total state funding per student by 0.04% from 2008-2014.
  • When adjusted for inflation, the current state formula funding per student is 6.2% lower in the current school year (2015-2016, FY2016) than prior to the recession (2007-2008, FY2008).

Those are pretty serious issues. Continue reading

Reflecting on What We Do

This past week, we had several guests from Summit Middle School in Johnston and Lenox Community Schools to discuss our implementation of standards-based learning practices, our use of vertical teaching, and our beginning integration of Chromebooks into our curriculum. We pointed our visitors to our work-in-progress website that provides detailed information about all of the above pieces of our program, and then provided opportunities to observe it in action at our 8th and 9th grade building, as well as with our 6th & 7th grade counterparts across town. It was a great time for us to both celebrate and reflect on how we do what we do with our students, and I wanted to write a little bit about that process. Continue reading

Data-Driven Professional Learning Communities in Instrumental Music

Again, it has been a long time since I posted. We have been busy wrapping up our marching band season with performances at the Southwest Iowa Band Jamboree, ValleyFest Showdown, IHSMA State Marching Festival, and our own Mid-Iowa Band Championship. Mix in conferences, jazz band auditions, an All City performance, honor band auditions, and preparing for the Veterans Day Parade in New York City, and we’ve got a busy life!
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Collecting Data in 2015-2016

It has been a long time since I have written a post! It’s been an even longer time since I have written a post about what is going on in our teaching! It’s time to get back to what we are doing this year: Continue reading

Shots Fired in Branstad’s War on Education

I am sorry I have not been posting much. My wife and I moved into a bigger place across town shortly after I returned from my grad school program. Right after we moved, my paternal grandmother passed away and band camp started. We are finally settled in; the kitchen remodel is done, and we have internet! Pardon the sensationalist, clickbait title to this post. I thought I would steal a bit from the Fox News rhetoric to add some irony to the situation.

Last week, Governor Branstad decided to blame school district superintendents for what he views as poor performance in Iowa schools. From an article in the Des Moines Register: Continue reading

VanderSummer 1 is Done!

I spent the past six weeks working on the first of two residency summers working on my Masters of Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. The program consists of three 12-credit semesters, two of which must be done as residencies. The other semester involves taking continuing education credits in their MECA program. These credits can be taken online or in person throughout the school year. I completed this portion of my program last year: Continue reading

Math on Educational Funding

I want to do some math. Our governor is trying to put a positive spin on the fact that he vetoed $55.7M in additional funds to Iowa schools. The rhetoric looks like this tweet:

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