Tag Archives: globalization



We need to Let Go of the Tests Driving Classrooms!!!!

The global reality of tomorrow’s world should be our motivation to stop our overly balanced focus on testing.

Today’s students will be part of a complex tomorrow.

Today’s students must be challenged and and developed at deep thinkers, collaborators, who can communicate and have a passion for learning and thinking big.  Yet, often schools are focused on skills that get measured on tests.

It is hard to get passionately excited about a state test. Tony_WagnerRead more at: https://jerryjennings.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/sometimes-i-think-the-general-public-might-no/

Granted – our schools need to improve. So, what are we focused on?

In America we all (well, maybe not all of us –but all of us should) want all our students to get a good education.

Dollars alone don’t make for improved outcomes for students.  OK, I get it.  Schools need to produce better results to gain the trust of the people so the people will support schools with more funding.

It’s circular.

Where do today’s students fit into this circle?

Is the general U.S. population unhappy with today’s students?  I don’t think so.  Yet, I do wonder want the general population is thinking about the future.

What do we as a country want for each student in America?  Do we want them to be prepared to be a contributing member of a global economy?  Do we want them to be able to afford to raise their children to be productive global citizens?   Do we dream of today’s young people and future generations of young people being part of major solutions improving the quality of life across the globe?

I want these things for our future generations.  I doubt that the basic downward trend in funding K-12 education will help us prepare our young people for the future they will face.

Thus, maybe all of us Americans should keep our focus on the future.

John Kenneth Galbraith said: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”  And to paraphrase Galbraith – ‘Maybe we as a country ought to realize there is a real need to change our educational system so that many more students succeed rather than trying to prove that the present approach is the best possible system.’


Port-Au-Prince: A City Of Millions, With No Sewer System

My last post focused in part on the fact that sanitation and toilets in India are not commonplace.

Then today I heard this piece on NPR about the city of Port-Au-Prince in Haiti and the serious situation that city has with sanitation.

If issues of sanitation in developing countries are something you want to help with here is a project taking place in East Lansing, Michigan to raise money.


Please join the Third Annual MSU SAID Fundraising Gala. This year, they are supporting the construction of sanitation infrastructure in rural areas surrounding Coimbatore, India.


In rural India, sanitation facilities are only available to approximately 25% of the population (WHO/UNICEF). As a result, many people use open areas to meet their sanitation needs. This leaves the area’s clean water supply open to a multitude of risks which endangers public health, agriculture production, and the community’s overall safety.  Many pathogenic microorganisms exist in human excreta, which can lead to the spread of disease, such as typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea. About 4 billion cases of diarrhea per year cause 1.8 million deaths, over 90% of them among children under five (UNICEF). In addition, increasing urbanization makes it more difficult for women to find discrete areas to meet their sanitation needs, and they are forced to venture farther away from their home which jeopardizes their personal safety. Furthermore, the septic tank byproducts can be used as fertilizer to improve local agriculture, and reduce input costs for the farmer. This development project addresses the most pointed needs of a community in a holistic, sustainable way. Because toilets are significant investments, frequently costing the equivalent of a year’s wage, our help is needed to support their efforts.

MSU SAID is working to raise $12,240 to support the construction of 40 twin pit toilets in the Coimbatore region of India. This design is efficient, affordable, and low-maintenance.

This evening will include Indian inspired food, entertainment, speakers, henna, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the Gala go directly to Shanti Ashram’s sanitation initiative, benefiting the construction of twin pit toilets in rural Coimbatore.

Contact msusaid@gmail.com with questions. Prices are $10 for students and $25 for non-students. Tickets should be purchased prior to the event.

More details about the gala and project can be found at:


And tickets can be purchased online at:

Karen and I can’t be there for the event but we did donate to the cause.


Here are pictures of a Tata Nano I saw while in India.  Tata Motors set out to make an efficient, low cost car that met all requirements of the Indian government.  The first Nano hit the streets of Mumbai in 2009.  Now they can be seen throughout India. It’s base price in US dollars, as of today, is $2,988.03. I think that meets the ‘low cost’ criteria they set out to achieve.

When was the last time a new car could be bought in the US for under $3,000?


Here is a link to pictures of traffic in India.

India and the Aakash ~ A Transformative Time in Indian Education

I have just returned from two weeks in India.

We had the good fortune to spend time in many sectors of modern India.  We visited a k – 12 school and talked with a the principal and the state commissioner of education.  They spoke of the fact that they would be providing every tenth grader with a laptop computer in the very near future at a cost of $35 per tablet.  That computer is the Aakash tablet.

As you can see from pictures I took of the school it is not a physical presence like that of American schools, yet by moving toward connecting students to the power of the world wide web they will have access to new and abundant learning opportunities.

In our visits with young Indian business and manufacturing leaders they explained that major efforts and capital are in place to make WiFi access available throughout the whole country of India over the next five years.  This will make it so the tablets will be able to access the internet outside of schools.

India’s current population is 1.2 billion people.  As the project unfolds to distribute Aakash tablets to students the opportunities for learning have just dramatically increase for students and citizen of India.


When you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something. ~ Indira Gandhi

Begining to Reflect and Learn From the Two Weeks in India


Celebrating Thinking Together

 by Jerry Jennings


Tomorrow belongs to those that can collaborate and create in concert

Tomorrow’s promise is complex and thus requires interdependent thinkers

Those who listen and think together will realize tomorrow’s opportunities

Today’s people of the world have an opportunity to get good at thinking together


We can connect with each other to develop our collective dispositions, points of view and dreams

We can “grow” thinking by thinking together across differences

By thinking interdependently, we invest in the idea that good will come from the diversity of thought

We demonstrate that there is real human value in connecting: mind-to-mind


Mind-to-mind: not politely tolerating each other’s opportunity to talk

Mind-to-mind: not striving to be the winner – as if one’s thinking is the best

Mind-to-mind: not just sharing space with the appearance of broadmindedness and acceptance

Mind-to-mind: not argument-to-argument


Connecting mind-to-mind requires people of openness

Being willing to grow in our thinking will lead to new beginnings for the common good

Connecting mind-to-mind will increase learning together

Connecting mind-to-mind creates new relationships – new beginnings