Sunday, March 22, 2015

100 Alternatives to Another Audit

It all began with a tweet by Vancouver School Board trustee Patti Bacchus about the ways that the Ministry of Education could spend its resources other than sending an auditor to the VSB. The purpose of the auditor is to find ways to save money by reducing administrative costs. Does this mean eliminating more secretaries, coordinators, managers? I don't know, but it doesn't look like this will result in any significant re-investment of money into the school board in such a way that will make life better in their schools. Patti had a good suggestion:

Feeding hungry children is a good way to spend money. So I tweeted my agreement.

#1 @pattibacchus @hartofmanvan @fassbender let me count the ways. We could give money to feed kids breakfast in one district where kids need it

But then I thought about other ways that we could spend the money. Below is the other 99 (approximately) tweets I wrote detailing ways that the government could spend the money to improve student learning other than by paying for another (second) auditor to scrutinize the Vancouver School Board. After about #51 I tried to jot ideas down in OneNote, but sometimes when I copied and pasted them into Twitter, I had to do some editing for brevity.  Opinions, as always, are mine.  Enjoy!

#2 We could have some guy with a camera go from district to district capturing great lessons to share

#3 we could buy microscopes. Guys, have you looked at something in a microscope recently? Awesome!

#4 we could buy gymnastic equip. Don't tell me you didn't freak out in elem when you saw it in gym!

#5 we could restore one art teacher, somewhere.
We could have one PE specialist visit every elementary school and help teachers learn more ways to get kids moving

#6 we could add more computers to classrooms. That alone could really improve student learning.

#7 spend the money on field trips. How many of us adults remember field trips we took more than worksheets?

#8 What if we spent the money on a set of jump ropes and sidewalk chalk? Spring is in the air.

#9 we could get one classroom somewhere out of a portable that isn't in very good condition

#10 we could get @atomictom to come to one school to teach a music class to aspiring musicians. With smartphones.

#11 we could spend the money to replace a playground at an elementary school so that the parents don't have to.

#12 give a kid with severe learning disabilities full time support in class so they can be full time learners.

#13 we could free up principals and vice principals so they can be in classrooms with us. Where the kids are.

#14 we could make YouTube videos sharing how awesome our teachers really are. Recognition is nice.

#15 we could decorate one kindergarten classroom, pay for it's art supplies so the teacher wouldn't spend their own $

#16 we could spend the money on smaller class sizes. Even for one class. Even if it wasn't mine.

#17 We could restore librarians to every middle school in my district. I miss librarians.

#18 We could buy Sodium for high school chemistry classes. Ever dropped some in water? Kids never forget that!

#19 We could have more school counselors in elementary schools. Should they wait until secondary school?

#20 restore one school psychologist to my district. Then a kid won't wait 2 years for an evaluation that will help

#21 Restore a hearing specialist to drive between districts. I have met them.They will their drive car into ground

#22 don't we already have to pay for seismic upgrades? First things first.

#23 music teachers at elementary/middle. We spend so much on buying music, why spend so little teaching it?

#24 give several tech ed classes 3D printers, and tell them about a big problem we are facing. Step back, watch.

#25 give settlement workers in our districts another pair of hands for the task of helping refugees rebuild in CAN

#26 Update all the tools in machine/shop classes that need it in sec schools in one district.

#27 find ways for a district to share all it's successes in using educational technology for all to see. Adoption!

#29 send several classes to science world. I don't care who sponsors science world right now. It's science world.

#30 a set of 15 computers to go from class to class in every elementary school in 1 district. Yep, doable.
replace the guitars in every elementary school in 1 district that needs it. A lot of them need replacing now.
ring a member of Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey team to go to every secondary encouraging girls 2 "keep playing"

#31 restore my friend's elementary school budget from 27,000 to the 181,000 it was before the liberal's took gov't

#32 fund inquiry-based professional development learning teams for every teacher that wants to be on one. ROI!

#34 newer computers in the poorest schools in the lowest income neighborhoods in one district.

Give every teacher in every elementary school a projector. Not on wheels either. Mounted.
Stock every elementary classroom with math manipulatives. All of them. Don't skimp.

#37 take the apply out of the BC Fruit and Vegetable for school program. Let's sign everyone up.

#38 give districts the money to run pilot programs with great support so we can truly see if new ideas work

#40 have actors travel all schools through the province explaining how our legal sys works via mock trials. Cool!

#41 provide teachers who want to be first aid rep more time to get trained. Important topics cover in short time.

#42 Create a goodly sized staff development department in each district of helping teachers for many areas.

#44 full time custodians in elementary schools. Kids are messy, that's how it is.

#45 - give Special Ed Assistants more professional development days. Wayyy more professional development days.

#47 smaller class sizes to ensure lower layoff numbers each year, costing us countless new teachers to leave tchng

#48 you could have a dentist visit every elementary school in a district and just check on kids who might need

#49 bring kids out to a farm to see where their food comes from. It's important and engaging.

#50 fire up every dormant kiln in elem schools, and train someone how to use them. There are a lot of them.

#51 hire a motivational spkr 2 talk to teachers, and help them find a way to feel like they have some control over edu situation in BC.

#52 buy emergency prep kits for all classrooms. Not saying buy granola bars and bottled water instead of seismic upgrades, but it's still important.

#53 invest in ways to make it safer to walk to school, in whatever form that would take as proscribed by members of the local community.

#54 Pay @Raffi_RC to put on a concert. For everyone. He was there for us.  

#55 laptops for every teacher with training to go with it. Regular, easy to follow pro-d for BC teachers, made by BC teachers.

#56 pay to build new schools where we have been promised new schools.

#57 restore school bus services to my district that now has none. And give the school bus drivers a raise. And ear plugs.

#58  don't send an auditor to VSB. Send an investigator to Mt Polley.  How are they doing after the dam breach?

#59 don't send an Auditor to VSB. Send one to BC Transit to look for efficiencies.  (Which I am not sure is a word. Inefficiencies, however is a word).

#60 don't send an auditor to VSB. Send one to private schools. We are giving them more money than ever so that should be part of the deal.

#61 send painters to create bold, empowering murals on the sides of our most underfunded schools.  

#62 give our artist kids paint and supplies to make these murals on their schools - pride in one's community

#63 have some guy from EA come to our schools and teach kids how to use code to make video games

#64 - Build an outdoor learning space at every school. With a place for a whiteboard.

#65 Have Chris Hadfield come visit every school. Astronaut and rock star. Has a moustache. What else to say?

#66 - teach about $100K year careers.

#67 have an expert determine how long we can get LNG out of the ground to sell. How much gas IS in the tank?

#68 pay for a team of experts to figure out what we should do when LNG runs out. We can't make more.

#69 have a martial arts master visit every elementary school. Not to teach to fight, but to learn humility and discipline.

#70 - school gardens by @namesescapeme

#71 Give a gps to every PE teacher and give them opportunity to take kids to the woods to learn how to get "un-lost"

#72 Send get well cards to teachers on Long Term Disability leave. Or compassionate leave. Or who are having a crappy day.

#73 Send a highly skilled Phys Ed teacher to one school that has a poor health and attendance record. Check for improv after 1 yr.

#74 Send a good songwriter kids like to one school to teach poetry for even for a day. Is @lights available?

#75 spend the money on figuring out how we can use "cloud" in schools. Big question,districts need to talk together

#76 Give a small whiteboard to every student.  I am not going to tell you what to do with it. Useful!

#77 Send each teacher a bottle of hand sanitizer, esp in schools where no sinks in class was a way to save $$$

#78 More ropes in gym class.  More really thick floor mats and crash pads too. Breed adventurous students.

#79 bring secondary school teachers together to discuss what they can do to support kids failing higher level classes

#80 use the money to create an event mid year to raise awareness around diseases like ALS and MS. No cure yet.

#81 - more pro-d for TTOC's so after years of waiting for a job, they can hit ground running.

#82 - Every teacher gets one more sick day. So many of my friends needed them this year.

#83  Give every teacher one half day a year to see one of their own kids perform in a concert/talent show

#84 Give every school just a little more student services time. How about .1? Anything?

#85 bring more bandwidth to one school in a remote part of BC.

#86 buy Arduino kits for tech ed classes everywhere. What the kids will make will astonish all.

#87 Buy raspberry pi kits for kids who have no internet capable devices at home. Put some in schools, and let kids administer them

#88 Buy Epic Movie Soundtrack songs and get the right to play it in gym classes.  Kids want to be superheroes, not sidekicks.

#89 Buy teachers t-shirts that have messages that say "You Can! Ask me How."

#90 Instead of sending an auditor  to VSB, why not use the auditor they already have. Isn't two auditors inefficient?

#91 replace every CRT monitor in the province  with modern LCD/LED monitor. Big savings on electricity over time.

#92 - pay for another IT guy to fix computers. Down time stinks, so does waiting.

#93 More youth workers in middle school. They head trouble off at the pass, and that means more time in class for kids.

#94 think about @BCG report on Canada's labor shortage. This is more important.

#95 send teachers reassuring messages that the Province supports them in effort to change #bced for the better

#96 Give teachers tons of free software. Free upgrades too.  Watch productivity explode.

#97 Give students tons of free software. Free upgrades too. Watch for innovation.

#98 Give teachers free workshops on how to write and publish books. We have untapped greatness in our hallways that must be spread.

#99 hire a team of filmmakers to create epic, awe inspiring videos to play in first 5 minutes of each staff meeting.

#100 make a gesture that shows BC Gov't loves, supports, and trusts public school teachers.  You entrust us with your kids each day.

Could there be more ways?  Feel free to include them in the comments below.