Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 23-09-2014


I had the pleasure of sitting down with a group of home school families recently as part of a joint venture to build a better relationship between home education families and the public school.  This meeting was the joint brainchild of a home education parent and I and was derived during a meeting we had over the summer.  Home Education and Public Education can appear to be at odds often by those inside and outside of education.  I believe often this is due to misunderstanding of what each is striving to accomplish along with being clouded by peoples own viewpoints of each.

At our first meeting which included parents from over a half dozen home education families we started by just getting to know each other.  It was a very informative time for me, personally, as it was good to hear specifically why each family choose to home educate.  As a person on the inside of the school I must admit it is difficult to understand each and every families desire to educate at home.  In fact, the reality, proven by the families own testimony was that each family had a unique reason.  It is not that each is a religious zealot, which some believe is the reason.  It is not that they hate the public school.  It is more often than not because the parents think this form of education meets the unique needs of their child.

Their reasons for choosing home education made me think about how public school strives to do the same thing, only to a much larger scale.  Realizing we have nearly 35 instructional faculty, not including all the support staff, you can easily see individualizing instruction down to each and every child is near impossible.  I freely admit that a teacher in a classroom of 20 students is challenged to meet the unique learning needs of each student.  However, instruction has improved greatly over the past decade to now use tiered instructional groups, high quality timely assessments to drive instruction, 1:1 technology to enable individualized instruction, and additional support to assist students that are struggling (ex Read180) to help teachers accomplish this task.  It is hard to argue that the home education way is wrong, and public education is right, or conversely, solely on this point.   Each will face challenges to meet the unique needs of their students.  In the end, I took away from this first meeting that we really do have the same goals.  We are both striving to provide our children with the best opportunities to learn and achieve greatness.  Neither is perfect, but neither is either wrong.

I do believe that public education has unique opportunities to offer children and when needed we will supply these tools and resources to any child or family.  I believe public education is an essential element in our community and in our country, as it allows for a fundamental education for all citizens.  I believe that public education is strong and not even close to as bad as some portray it to be.  I believe the education of our youth is vital.  I also believe that home education vs public education is not a South vs North fight.  Both, are striving to meet the unique needs of the children they have responsibility to educate and by working together maybe we can build bridges between both institutions to a point where neither feels contempt or alienation by the other.  By doing this, working together, we can educate our children for the future.  This really should be our focus.

We are planning a second meeting later in the year, and look forward to continuing to build these bridges of understanding and acceptance.



Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 16-09-2014

To help explain the issues of finances and spending at Ellendale Public School I have created a series of infographics to explain the following:

Where the Money Goes
Where the Money Comes From

and to attempt to explain the states funding formula for schools I have created…

ND State School Funding Formula Explained
ND State Funding for Ellendale School

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 12-09-2014

After the taxation public meeting last week it has become very apparent that more is needed to help inform everyone of where the money goes, and comes from, in regard to school finances.  So in an effort to accomplish this task this is the first of a multi-part post on the finances of EPS.  The first will focus on expenses, particularly the General Fund (this is the main fund).  Later I will post about revenue and taxation and possibly other areas if interest and time allows.

Please follow this link to an INFOGRAPHIC that may help start a discussion about WHERE THE MONEY GOES.


Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 09-09-2014

Sorry FB officials I put this post in the wrong blog.  Here is a link to the correct one