Nov
23
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 23-11-2016

Rural-EducationThe recent victory for President-Elect Donald Trump was in large part due to the support from rural America.  Many news organizations have realized that the frustrations of the middle and working class in America have risen to a level to repulse the desires of our growing urban centers.  The win for the Trump campaign has lead many, I included, to optimistically hope that President-Elect Trump and the GOP will focus like a laser on issues related to the middle class.  This is not the time to further lift up the rich, but you need to provide a hand to the poor and working families.  But, how will the new administration support rural schools?  That is the new question we as educators are asking.

My comments today are focused on what I hope the Trump presidency could do for education in rural America.  I am not focusing on urban, urban poor, or suburban.  My thoughts are directed specifically at us out here in the middle lands of America.  Those of us that live in rural America.  President Trump here is what we need you to do for us, those that elected you.

  1. Reduce the Bureaucracy – Most small rural schools are under staffed and the ever increasing amounts of reporting and paperwork being asked for by OCR (Office of Civil Rights), DOE, Dept. of Transportation, and those items being required by the federal government but hidden in state reporting requirements need to be reduced.  We would benefit greatly from these efforts which would allow us to focus our limited personal capital on our students needs.
  2. Increase Title Funding & Reduce Supplement/Supplant Rules – First, rural schools receive less funding per child compared to larger school districts even where rural schools poverty rates are higher.  Rural schools need these funds just as desperately to serve our ever growing populations of disadvantaged students.  Rural schools are experiencing 20-30-40-50% poverty and need these funds to provide the intensive and direct instruction our students need and deserve.  The other factor is the upcoming rules in regard to Supplement/Supplant.  Federal rules may put forth a complex accountability system for Title funds.  This may affect mid size schools in rural America more than micro schools like mine but these rules do not provide the needed flexibility we all need in rural America.
  3. Support Pre-School Education – Access to high quality pre-K education in rural America is almost no-existent.  On top of that dual parent employment is greater in rural areas where both incomes are needed to make ends meet.  The Trump administration would help rural America greatly by helping to fund nourishing pre-K educational opportunities in all our communities.  This would help families, return some money to their pockets, and help ensure all children are ready to succeed in school.
  4. Less Focus on Charter and School Choice – President Elect Trump these things do not affect rural schools.  Focus your energy and resources on making all our schools better, which can then benefit the one and only choice most families have in rural America.. their community school.  Recently in a survey conducted North Dakota had the highest percentage of respondents rating their local school as excellent or good, as compared to all the states in the union.  We do not need you to select a Sec. of Education focused on Charter and School Choice.  We need you to drive home policies that will help us in rural areas. Charters and school choice are not it.
  5. Help with Challenging Students – As I mentioned in my first point, resources and specialists in rural America are limited.  Rural schools are seeing the same increases in the number of student with emotional and behavioral challenges as in urban areas.  However, our access to mental health services is drastically different.  Your administration could help us greatly by providing resources to assist with these student.  We need better access to mental health services.
  6. English Language Learners – Throughout the country rural schools are seeing increased numbers of students classified as English Learners.  President-Elect Trump focus on ways to support the development of programs to assist our teachers to address the needs of these populations.  We need training programs for our professionals that they can access without leaving their district.  We need educational and technology resources that allow us to meet the wide range of language needs of our new families.
  7. We Need Teachers – Throughout the nation the teacher shortage is real.  No longer can rural America be the feeder program for all the teacher vacancies in the country.  My home state has had a positive reputation for developing outstanding teachers, but we can’t afford to ship them out any more.  Rural America needs you to support the development of quality teacher programs for young people.  We need you to assist in tuition or pay off student loans so more young people join the teaching ranks.  We need you to provide financial assistance to rural schools so we can pay a competitive salary as compared to our counterparts in suburban areas.  Not until we can help teachers into the profession and then get them to believe teaching in a rural school is a quality choice will our teacher shortages be eliminated.

President-Elect Trump I hope you are listening.  Your election as our President was in no small way, achieved due to the hopes of rural America.  We do believe you can make America great again.  Just, don’t forget the young people in our schools.

 

Nov
17
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 17-11-2016

If you are a fan of ESPN and their NFL broadcast you will know about their C’mon Man segments.  This is where they point out funny and not so funny mistakes by players, fans, and officials.  Here is one of their previous segments.

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So I thought I would share some of my Cmon Man moments from school.

  • Patrons calling on Monday about cancelling school on Friday due to snow – C’Mon Man!
  • You can pay for a Dakota Bowl T-Shirt but not your child’s lunch money – C’Mon Man!
  • Running the stop signs around the school, not rolling them… running right through them – C’Mon Man!
  • Upset Parent, “I know my child is not doing well in reading, but I do not want them getting help after school” – C’Mon Man!
  • “We are to busy to help our child with their studies” – C’Mon Man!

Have a great week!