Reflections for School Finance

As I continue my journey toward my Master’s in Education Leadership, last Wednesday began my school finance section of the adventure.  While this program has taken me through a few pretty disastrous courses, there have been some outstanding ones as well: Supervision and Leadership with Dan Major, School Law with Dr. Pat Pauken, and now, hopefully, School Finance with Dr. Paul Johnson.

Although the traditions of “syllabus night” held true (early dismissal!), we did begin with some reflective dialoge concerning where school finance issues stand today and why this is an incredible time to be taking the course in Ohio.  With a new governor (and friends) taking the lead, we’re likely to witness some major transformations in school finance approaches, procedures, and laws.  The challenge will be keeping a room of nine passionate individuals on an apolitical and productive approach to the topic.

Much like my law course, this class appears to be one taught by an individual who is downright passionate about the topic.  I’m sure he’s knowledgable and experienced as well, but it is the passion that is presented during each class session that really makes the experience worthwhile.  As an interesting pre-administrator reflection, I found one of his introductory comments absorbing.  While explaining his resume, including time as a building-level and district-level administrator, he explained that he has always just asked his staff members for two things: 1.  Teach kids in a way that they will learn. And if you’re not in a teaching position, support teachers so that they can teach in a way that kids will learn.  2.  Treat others well. While these are simple and broad expectations, they are also wholly encompassing.  Just something interesting to keep in mind as I prepare for a principalship.

Finally, I walked away from the first class with a few quotes that may bring a nod to your head or a smile to your face:

“School Finance is not a math class; it’s political science.”

“There are only two kinds of school districts in Ohio: those that are on the ballot and those that will be.”

“Don’t watch sausage or laws being made; You’ll lose your appetite for both.”

“The study of School Finance is like a Russian novel; It’s long and boring and in the end, everybody dies.”

I’m excited for the course!

MacOS X File System Prediction

For not really any reason other than hoping to drop an, “I told you so,” I’d like to make a prediction about how Apple will revolution their file system in their 10.7 update.  Everywhere we go with a keyboard these days, we’re asked to identify blogs, bookmarks, photos, notes, conversations, videos, and more with a new type of label: tags.  Tags give users the ability to filter and search through content based on the desired file having one (or multiple!) tags.  The concept makes any search a custom search, perhaps containing photos in one’s library that contains “vacation”, “Steven”, “animals” in order to find that sequence of photos of Steven feeding the seagulls on vacation.

Throughout this year, I find myself trying to find the most useful ways to organize my files for my first year of creating content for fifth grade language arts.  As my plans are dictated by a standards-aligned map, each IWB file, worksheet, assessment, notes file, etc., are all connected to single or multiple standards.  In addition, the content is often related to relevant information for the kids (Christmas content at Christmas, hunting content during hunting seasons, etc.).  Long story, short: I want to be able to label files according to what exactly the file contains.

Currently, I’m stuck giving a file a single name and placing it in some heirarchy of folders.  Until Apple chooses to take on this system of file labeling, there are a couple workarounds I can think of.  First, you could use the current file system to make folders labeled according to the tags that you may want to use.

Get Info

In each folder, you could make an alias, or shortcut, and place it in each appropriate folder.  This will make a file that points to the actual file.

Secondly, you could use a file’s Get Info option to place tags in the Spotlight Comments box.  This will allow you to use Apple’s Spotlight search engine to find files according to what tags you’d like to search for.

Make no mistake, introducing tagging into the file system would take some thinking on the programmers’ part.  Moreover, they would need to think about how files migrated to other operating systems would adapt their tags to a standard file name-based system.  Still, I foresee the payoff of adapting this approach to be extremely helpful to Mac users.  And if anyone can pull off a revolution, it’s Apple.