Flunking My Son’s Report Card

My son, Sean, got his report card last week, oops sorry his “Student Assessment.” I think he did well. I am not 100 percent sure, because with all the education jargon it is difficult to really tell.

In fact, in order to decipher the gobbledygook (as my friend Michelle Golden calls it) I was sent an email from his teacher explaining it. Here is the email in part. I say in part because each of these required a full paragraph to explain the details.

  1. The Report Card- The specific skills addressed and assessed this grading period are listed with your students achievement.
  2. The First Grade Report Card Addendum- Indicates your student’s Independent reading level at this time.
  3. Student Success initiative (SSI) letter- this will inform you of how your student is performing compared to the grade level standard. 
  4. Math Inventory form- this form reports your student’s scores on the District Math Assessment given to all first graders.
  5. DRA Report- This is your child’s independent reading level.
  6. TPRI Report- This report has their beginning of the  year (boy) testing and middle of year (moy) testing for this assessment.

Now, while I am very grateful to his teacher for her assistance with this, I am dumbstruck with the amount of bureaucracy this must create. Each of these is assessed on a quarterly basis!

Notice the duplication of the second and fifth items. Actually, it is triplication because the first item covers reading as well.

If you want to know why the education budget is completely bonkers look no further. Think about the cost of driving all this crap through the system!

Please note, I believe my son is getting an excellent education so far, but I must say it is in spite of, not because of, all this nonsensical garbage with which teachers must concern themselves.

On the grading system I recall using, I give this an F!

A Modest (Marriage) Proposal

This week the media, traditional and new, have been bursting with conversations about the Supreme Court of the United States taking on both California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, both of which attempt to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

I wish to offer a libertarian proposal on the best trade-off possible to bring this situation to an expedient close. Not surprisingly, my remedy is to get the government out of the marriage business entirely.

The idea is simple, let the term marriage be defined by religious (or non-religious) institutions in the manner that best serves their beliefs. If two men wish to marry and your religion or belief system allows it, great. If five men and three women wish to marry and your religion or belief system allows it, great!

The term civil union should be adopted by governments to describe the contract between two people which confers certain rights with regard to child rearing, property ownership, and end-of-life issues. (There may be others as well, but I am not a lawyer. So be it, add them on.)

Let me be clear, as the POTUS, is fond of saying. I do not think that only gay and lesbian couples should be subject to this civil union, I am saying that it will apply to all. From the perspective of the state it is a special kind of contract in that only two people can enter into it and any one time.

R. Lee WrightsThis idea is not without precedent. As R. Lee Wrights, a great Texan and Libertarian candidate for President in 2012 said during the LP Presidential debate in Fort Worth last year, “George and Martha Washington did not have a marriage license.” Here, here!

In fact, it was inconceivable to them that one should even obtain permission from the government to get married.

I am sure many libertarians would say to me that we just need to eliminate the idea of government approved unions. While, in principle, I agree with this statement, we must acknowledge that undoing all of the law with regard to these unions will take years, if not decades.

Therefore, we must support something that achieves the goal of separating church and state and allows more freedom. This proposal does just that. It would allow maximum freedom for people to define marriage in any way they like.

I hope you say, “I do!”

A Story about My Grandfather

My grandfather had an expression he used to use on occasions such as a beautiful early Fall evening.

“I wonder what the poor people are doing?”

Now this might strike you as odd, extraordinarily glib, or even downright insulting. It was not.

It was actually meant as a reminder to take pleasure in the wonder of life. His implication was that we, my family, were “the rich.” Financially, I can assure you, we were anything but.

We were, however, rich in health (mostly), in spirit, and, most importantly, in love!

“The poor people” in my grandfather’s heuristic expression, were those who lacked this richness in spirit and love.

On those evenings he felt blessed, and his expression and his attitude about life, live with me to this day.

“I wonder what the poor people are doing?”

TGO Consulting Joins Ed’s List

Screenshot_2_6_13_1_34_PMI am thrilled to announce another addition to the tongue-in-cheek-eponymous Ed’s ListTGO Consulting.

I have had the honor of knowing the principals Tracy, George, and Orgad for almost 20 years. We were all Great Plains Software partners back in the day.

TGO Consulting is the largest organization in the information technology consulting business that has eliminated timesheets. In fact, other than the advertising agency of Ogilvy and Mather, they are the largest known professional firm to go timeless across the entire professional sector.

In celebration of this, I thought it would be beneficial to have them share their story, and they graciously agreed to record this podcast for me. (I apologize for the echo at the beginning. It self corrected and I hope you don’t find it too distracting.)

Enjoy!

On Imitation

Yesterday, my brother Rich and I had a Skype conversation during which were talking about imitating star performances. He then told me this great story.

“In 1998, Nathan Lane played the Cowardly Lion in a concert adaptation of the Wizard of Oz.

“A women came up to him after the performance and snidely said, 'What if I told you that your performance was just an exact imitation of Burt Lahr's.'

“Lane replied, 'I'd say thank you, because Bert Lahr was pretty fucking great!'”

Sometimes imitation is not such a bad thing.

 

Firm of the Future at DFW

Attention my fellow Dallasites and Fort Worthians. Ron Baker and I are delivering our famous (well, in our minds anyway) Firm of the Future Symposium at the Hilton DFW Lakes hotel on February 12 and 13.

This class is for all professionals: accountants, lawyers, IT consultants, architects, engineers, advertising agencies, we have even had a doctor attend.

 

If you are interested here are the details:

Firm of the Future Symposium

The Firm of the Future Symposium coming to a city near you will feature Ron Baker of the Vera Sage Institute. The symposium will feature Ron Baker of the VeraSage Institute and Ed Kless, Sage senior director, partner strategy and development. This experience is dedicated to the possibility that a professional organization can be run more effectively when it becomes a knowledge firm rather than a service firm. Creating such an organization is hard work and not for everyone, as it requires partners to think differently than they have in the past about what it is that they do.

The registration fee for the first attendee is $2,000. The fee for additional attendees is $1,000.

Download the agenda for this event .

Location

Date

Sage University

Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center
1800 Highway 26 East
Grapevine, TX 76051

Feb. 12-13

Register Today
Path: Login >
select Academies & Workshops >
Mid-Market ERP

 

The registration site is not the friendliest, so if you have any problems, please just let me know and I will take care of it.

If you have any questions, let me know.

 

JCC Consulting Group Added to Ed’s List

Congratulations to Juan Castro and his team at JCC Consulting Group on their addition to Ed’s List.

Firms on the list are IT (information technology) related professional knowledge firms. To be on this list the firm must:

  • Offer only fixed price agreements and not bill by the time unit.
  • Have eliminated timesheets for all professionals.
  • Offer a service guarantee.

Kim Barber said of their inclusion, “We appreciate the opportunity and count it a privilege to be included in this list.”

Libertarians v. libertarians: the problem of purity

I was first inspired to begin writing this post over a year ago when I read the blog post entitled Libertarians: the problems of purity. It is over a year in the making, not because of its depth or greatness (hardly), but because of the challenge for the author of expressing my beliefs in a way that is comprehensible to others.

My plea is this – Libertarians (note uppercase L which indicates party affiliation) need to stop putting purity tests on libertarians (note lowercase l which indicates philosophical affiliation). My primary source for this plea is the World’s Smallest Political Quiz (aka the Advocate’s Quiz, aka the Nolan Chart).

Ms. Apple's Nolan Chart

Let’s take the above as an example. Ms. Apple is a school teacher who is intensely against adult possession and use of drugs including marijuana and even alcohol. She thinks that prostitution should remain illegal, but has no problem with homosexual marriage. She also is intensely pro First Amendment, against a draft and detests the idea of a National ID card.

In addition, Ms. Apple thinks the government safety net should definitely remain in place. To do this she believes spending and tax could be cut, but not drastically. She favors ending all forms of welfare, save the safety net and is a proponent of free trade.

According to the Nolan Chart Ms. Apple scores as a libertarian, falling just above the centrist line at a score of 70/70.

Now the problem.

Mr. Myself is an apex libertarian scoring 100/100 on the Nolan Chart. He  is very proud of his "credentials," but the truth is he has gotten to his positions over time. In fact, he started out very near where Ms. Apple is today.

The problem as I see it is when Mr. Myself encounters Ms. Apple online during a Facebook debate on marijuana legalization. It is likely Mr. Myself will attempt to persuade Ms. Apple to see it his way, citing innumerable statistics and Reason Magazine articles. After some time, it is likely reductio ad hitlerum will lead to Mr. Myself to believe that Ms. Apple is Dr. Mengele reincarnate and Ms. Apple will view Myself as Bill Murray’s groundskeeper character of Carl Spackler in Caddy Shack.

 Josef_Mengele   vs.    images-9

I have seen this played out (yes, even played my part in) countless conversations both online and in person and it always leads to one fewer Libertarian. We need to stop the madness.

My suggested remedy comes from Edwin Friedman, author of one of my all-time favorite books, A Failure of Nerve. In the preface is this gem, Friedman writes, "The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change." For more on this visit a previous post about this quote.

Friedman’s prescription is simply this – If you care about the relationship and want to advance your cause, figure out how to remain connected to the other person and let them know you are there to support them.

Yep, that is it. No cajoling, no more statistics, no more Reason.com posts. Just remain available in what he calls in a non anxious presence mode.

If the Libertarian Party is to advance we need more leaders who embrace this mode of thinking. We have to stop ostracizing people, especially those with whom we agree on so much.

Who will join me?