Austin TX 1/29/17

Story #1: My friend and I dined at a Pho restaurant. Prior to that, we hesitated on whether it was a good idea to park in a spot that had towing and tire locking warning signs. My friend thought it would be alright. Nope. His rental car (no Lyft or Uber in Austin, TX)  got clamped. And his wallet was $104 lighter. Moral of the story? Don’t do it, just don’t.

Story #2: When unloading our equipment from the rental car, I did a deep squat and ripped my pants. Those pants never made it back to San Francisco… But the humor from that moment made it back just fine.




Austin TX 1/30/17

Woke up 7am PST time… As a result, 1 1/2 hours late for the conference… My phone was still set to PST. Sighs… Luckily my colleague held down the booth with no problem. At the conference, I was thinking of ways to engage with the audience (95% Superintendents) and came up with this idea:



During my two day participation of the TASA conference, I stole pockets of opportunity to participate and listen in on a couple Thought Leader Sessions. I did not stay for the entire hour session, but I did my best to capture what I could and reinterpreted the information in my own rendition. That being said, there might be some discrepancies with the information presented in this blog. Best practices is to cross reference with another source for better accuracy.

Ernest Morrell: Powerful Readers and Writers in Diverse 21st Century Classrooms: A Leader’s Call to Action!

If we [educators] get bored by it [literature] then how can we get students excited about it?

Key Questions

  • How Do We Get Students Excited About Learning?
  • How Do We Develop Students Literate Identities?
  • How Do We Make It Digitally Relevant?

Education starts with Self, Others, and lastly the World

“Why do kids fail? What are the reasons for failure” Research About Failure

  • Lack of Confidence
  • Lack of relevance
  • Lack of engagement with high quality relevant literature
  • Lack of engagement with a community of learners
  • Lack of engagement with the social world

Kids walk in the classroom not liking themselves

21st Century Learning & Literacy

  • Moving from a receptive century to a productive century
  • Learning that is participatory and interactive
  • Learning to critically discern when inundated with information
  • Learning that allows students to develop their own unique and powerful voice

John Tanner: Next-Generation Assessment and Accountability: Why A-F is a Mistake

Author of: The Pitfalls of Reform: its Incompatibility with Actual Improvement

  • The Schooling Dynamics involve: student, achievement, institution, and compliance.

Everyone cannot be above average. It’s not funny.

  • Each quadrants operate independently, the language of accountability is all about achievement, you can be 100% compliant without affecting achievement, state-based accountability is a compliance, not an achievement activity.

The systems are so corruptible that validity is determined by the match of someone’s bias.

  • An educational system that substitutes compliance for quality will be hard-pressed to generate quality. Compliance does NOT equal educational achievement.
  • The A-F system is supposed to be simple, clear, and transparent assessment of achievement to measure the academic success of students.

School grades influences executive decisions, such that they create massive inefficiencies

  • The truth is and all educators unanimously agree that school grades are pretty much meaningless.

Researchers, experts, and educators all agree: grades do not and cannot work.

  • The argument for A-F is that competition is good, that schools should operate like businesses.

Jamie Casap: Global Education Evangelist, Google for Education

Generation Z is global, social, visual, and technological. His son learned to code at age 13 and didn’t even ask his father who dabbles with coding at Google. To this end, Jamie proposed that learning needs to be catered to develop skills in a technology world. The question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “where do you want to work” This made sense in the past, but not anymore. The current spirit of education involves a mentality shift that beckons the question, “what problem do you want to solve?”. Following this question requires an individual to learn what type of knowledge or skills are need to solve that problem. This process involves mastering the ability of reinventing yourself throughout your entire life in respects to career and work.

Jamie raised an example by mentioning a story of a 15 year old girl who had a friend in the Philippines, who did not have electricity to read or do homework at night. That bothered her extremely, hence, she committed to do something about it by creating a flashlight that is powered by human heat. (Bloody amazing for a youth to do that!)

Iteration is the result of critical thinking and collaboration is how problems are solved

Jamie transitioned from this story and proposed that we need more digital, technologically savvy, modern day leaders. However, this involves a better universal education upbringing for the modern day student 81% of modern day elementary school students don’t know the difference between a sponsored news website versus a regular website. He interjected that educators need to teach students how to utilize the tools they have via the internet or technology and collect relevant information.

At this point in time, purely reciting stagnant streams of information doesn’t mean anything anymore. Rather, it’s having the ability to convert information into intelligible actions that leads to tangible results. The goal of education is to create models that help kids think more critically and deeper apart from Googling answers to straightforward questions like “who was the 1st president of the United States?”

Having the foundation of learning the process of any skill or knowledge is highly sought after because it demonstrates that an individual has a scalable, sustainable ability that will result in long-term success. In harsh comparison, the ability to acquire and reproduce stagnant, likely time-sensitive knowledge lacks the advantageous characteristics of the former because Google and the internet has render human knowledge aggregation obsolete.

If you can teach superintendents how to code (crowd of superintendent laughter)… you can teach just about anybody


Candidly speaking, coming from San Francisco, Austin wasn’t impressive in terms of having a urban/city lifestyle. In terms of diversity, aside from the University of Texas campus, there wasn’t much ethnical diversity elsewhere. From a real estate perspective, Austin crushes San Francisco in terms of pricing. I saw a 1 bedroom apartment go for $700/month…. This price is unheard of in San Francisco. Overall, the pace in Austin was very slow… There wasn’t much to do and the food scene was lacking.








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