I almost always find something of interest to read on the Huffington Post’s Huffpost Education page. Today, the article that really caught my eye was for a $250,000 award, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,  to find creative ideas for ailing school systems in the United States and around the world.

Here is the Challenge (taken from their website):

Through the Global Education Challenge, we hope to find truly original ideas that can become tangible tools to improve student outcomes across the globe–both inside and outside the classroom. We’re building a community of innovators who share our goal, and together we’ll discuss ideas for groundbreaking solutions to help transform student learning, foster family engagement, and enhance teacher effectiveness. We’ll be giving away $250,000 in cash and prizes to the best ideas. Entries will be accepted from Thursday, May 19 through Friday, July 15th, 2011.

Schools all over the world are in crisis: learn more about the education issues we want to address.

It’s time to stop being passive complainers or naysayers. We have ideas: let’s share them. Sure, the money is an incentive, but…

WHY DO WE NEED THIS TO STIR US TO ACTION? Seriously. I’m asking that question. Why are we not united on positive problem solving goals, and working together, on a daily basis?

Think about it. Comment about it. Share with friends, family and colleagues. Then come back here and share. Send them here, and share.

Oh..and pass the link along. We need to develop that “community of innovators” and support support support a healthy school system.

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SPCwrite
    May 27, 2011 @ 20:31:50



  2. Abhisek
    May 27, 2011 @ 21:34:01

    Why are we not united on positive problem solving goals, and working together, on a daily basis? This is a question everyone needs to ask themselves.Nice post Stuart and I like the pic too. 🙂


  3. Trackback: Education Reform: GLOBAL EDUCATION CHALLENGE | Γονείς σε Δράση
  4. SJ
    May 28, 2011 @ 01:00:05

    OK instead of wasting that money on a prize so to speak shouldn’t they be investing that in the schools, I know its not much but seriously you know that it’ll end up going on some silly consultative type spiel that’ll do nothing for anyone (sorry I’m a consultant so I kind of shot myself there).

    I totally agree with your point Why are we not united on positive problem solving goals, and working together, on a daily basis? This is for our next generations so why are we putting it out there like a ‘guess the amount of beans in the jar’. I think its shocking.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 28, 2011 @ 03:57:49

      In the long run, .25 of a million is nothing. It’s marketing.HOPEFULLY some brainstorming will happen, but.. then what? This should be an ongoing incentive, if they were really serious. Yeah..kinda gobsmacked on this one. It’s a double edged sword.


  5. Manoj
    May 28, 2011 @ 15:29:37

    Every..Every one shouting for right for education,each one to teach one, free education for all etc., but question is It’s really works?

    If you are rich your child will read in a good school. No one thinking about a poor, who is unable to send his child to a primary school to learn alphabets.

    I am experience with this situation, this problem is every where, basically I can speak about India. Private school, School run by NGOs(many NGO gating money from downers for free education & social development for poor people) even Govt. school all wants money in exchange of education. what a shame!!


    • bornstoryteller
      May 28, 2011 @ 16:39:03

      Yes. It is a shame. It should be the RIGHT of everyone to the BEST education possible, not an afterthought, and not as a privilege for the ones who only have money. Thank you.


  6. charlie nitric
    May 28, 2011 @ 15:42:20

    Hy Stuart –

    I think we’re not united because we want to talk about it but we want others to do something about it. It’s like talking “Green”. We talk it but not many of us are truly living it. Thank you. 🙂


    • bornstoryteller
      May 28, 2011 @ 16:40:38

      Charlie, that’s it. Talk talk talk..Complain Complain Complain. But..DO? Actually get off your butt (literally or not) and DO something… Where is Yoda wisdom now. Do, or don’t do. There is not try. Thanks.


  7. Pamanner
    May 28, 2011 @ 15:46:00

    Love this. . .ties right in with the reality of a global humanity 🙂


    • bornstoryteller
      May 28, 2011 @ 16:41:58

      Thank you Pam. My belief is that we should be striving for the Global Community before it’s really too late. We’re letting Big Money run everything, and our sight is too narrow and unfocussed.


  8. Alejandro
    May 28, 2011 @ 16:21:14

    i have to agree with Sj. The money should be used more wisely in the respect get the idea and then use the money to make it happen. Otherwise it brings vultures to feast who really don’t give a flip!

    My thoughts


    • bornstoryteller
      May 28, 2011 @ 16:44:35

      Good Thoughts, A. We are surrounded by those vultures, who look at the small ME pocket of their own universe. I have my theories why this is happening, but this is not the place to voice them as I have no proof. I just believe there is an intentional dumbing down of Public School education, generally. You’ll have those who overcome it (students, teachers, principals), but…


  9. Manoj
    May 29, 2011 @ 05:28:05

    Hi bornstoryteller!

    I partly agreed with you. I am living in India, I can tell about India, whats going on here. I also agreed all are not the same category, but most of them.

    Many NGO (Non Govt Organization) who received money from donors with promise for free education, free medical facility, social economical development of poor people. They are running their school and other activity as per their choice. They appoint Principal. Principal of that school have no service guarantee. Govt have no control over any NGO with many cases.Its a very serious matter that so many NGOs even haven’t a school building. They are running their activity tie-up with govt. but getting fund from their donors for their activity.

    Only donors are able to control every thing. If they ask about their money, regular audit for their money, may be quarterly, this problem will be solved many cases.


  10. tom
    May 29, 2011 @ 13:23:33

    Nice post, but what is your solution? I can only speak for the situation here in the US, but I think the problem is money and unions. First, the money is controlled by the government and is being used as a tool to push their ideals, both parties. The people who control the money control the system and what is taught our kids. So I pay thousands a year in property taxes into a system that I disagree with and have no say into what they are teaching my children. Second, the unions are too large and too powerful. Poor teachers cannot be terminated and good ones are not incentivized. On top of the pensions that the public has to pay for the rest of their lives, its not sustainable. OK, my solution. There is nothing revolutionary about my idea. Competition. Vouchers and school choice. Take the money away from the government and let the parents decide where their kids go to school. Let them choose a school that better fits their values. Let the schools compete against each other and it will improve them. Bad one will close and good ones will thrive. Just like business. Just like the little girl in the picture, choose the school best for you based on your values not your geography. It will never happen though. It means giving up power and once the government has their nose under a tent, they never back out. Oh, also if we went back to teaching the fundamentals and stop worrying about upsetting the kids, maybe, just maybe they can compete with the students of the world who are kicking our butts in science and math. PC is killing our ability to produce achievers.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 29, 2011 @ 13:28:20

      Thank you for putting your comments here as well (Tom, for those not in the know, posted the above on FB and kindly agreed to post it here). As I mentioned in my answer, I am addressing some of the feelings (with justifications when I can AND arguments as well) in past blogs, and that will continue for awhile. I don’t feel that this should be all about ME but what others think on the subject, and that we not only create dialogue but problem solve TOGETHER. That was my “huh?” moment: that a money incentive (personal) will bring people out, but on a day to day basis…? I don’t get it.


      • Alejandro
        May 29, 2011 @ 13:39:24

        I can’t agree with Tom in one respect. As it is a geographical question. Sure you want your children attending a good school but what if the schools in your area are all qualified as crap? What then? NO… improve the schools in your locale with funds you have paid to your local council as is here… stuff the argument about Unions and pollies. Get involved in your local community and make the change… taxes are here to stay get over it…

        Ranting Mate love yas both

      • tom
        May 29, 2011 @ 13:43:22

        Money incentive to whom? The teachers? Sure, why not? The good teachers should earn more than the poor teachers. We should be able to measure their performance and reward them for their skill and success. But let’s be honest. The good teachers don’t get into education for the paycheck. They do it because they love it. But like anything else, you reward those that do well. Doesn’t have to be monetarily.

        Mainly I’m concerned of who has control of the money. I don’t think it should be in Washington, or Trenton, or Albany, or whatever the capital of your state is. I think control of the money should be in the hands of the parents. If I want to send my kid to a tech school, because they show a passion and aptitude toward that sort of thing, then that should be my choice. If I want to send them to a Christian school, because that fits better with my values, that should be my choice. Or if I just want to send them to a high performing school because I want them to get the best education they can, I should have that choice. Right now, we are limited to our geography or our ability to pay additional tuition to a private school. Competition is good, it brings out the best in people and organizations. Right now the schools don’t compete with each other so there is little reason to improve. The bureaucracy holds them back.

      • tom
        May 29, 2011 @ 14:00:17

        Love you too, buddy, but why do you assume I’m not involved? If the schools in your local community suck, if you had choice, you could send your kids to a school in the next community. Or better yet, gather a bunch of people together and start your own school. A charter school for example. Just like if all the restaurants in your locale suck, it’s an opportunity for someone to open one that doesn’t. With vouchers and school choice, you are not limited to the boundaries of your town. And you know what, technology is such that you are not limited by the boundaries of your state or country. There is a movement here of cyber-charter schools. The online education movement is gathering steam. As a personal example, I had to go back to college and finish my degree. Part of the employment agreement with Subaru. Problem is, I travel about 80% of the time so a traditional “brick and mortar” school is out of the question. So I had to go online. University of Phoenix was the first online school, good marks but still holds that stigma. However, many major, old and very good colleges have an online program now. I chose a Christian university in Virginia, Liberty University, because they have the program I was looking for and matched my values. But, Northwestern University in Chicago (one of the best schools in the country) also has my program and I may transfer there. Mainly for the prestige and recognition of that school. But, living in New Jersey, I couldn’t attend either of those schools if the only option I had was a traditional classroom setting.

      • bornstoryteller
        May 29, 2011 @ 14:21:49

        Tom..I support Cyber education (which I think helps out the Home Schooling community tremendously) but.. one of the precepts of the educational system is Social Engagement. I think that the overuse of tech hampers that already (kids texting, plugged in almost 24/7). Again, not an easy answer as our technology moves along so quickly.

        I’ve been in too many schools where there is no control over the technology aspects, and the interaction in speaking skills stops at a certain point. They are in their own heads so much.

  11. bornstoryteller
    May 29, 2011 @ 13:42:33

    And dialogues happen.


  12. bornstoryteller
    May 29, 2011 @ 13:56:02

    Tom, Alejandro and anyone else: First: PLEASE keep things civil, state your opinions, justify them when you can, and RESPECT everyone posting.

    The thing I truly believe has to happen first, before anything: We need to stop having all “sides” thinking “I’m the only one who is right; YOU are WRONG!” We don’t LISTEN. We hear noise, dismiss it (often, not always), but we are so ready to FIGHT instead of hearing different POVs, weighing out for OURSELVES if there is any validity or not.

    I do this with my students in my Process Dramas, where we get into status and power, and who has the right to decide things. When everyone argues and yells and points fingers and closes their minds to opposing views, well then… we are all being Politicians, who have their own agendas, and we are all saying “You are stupid for believing in what you do believe in, and therefor your opinion is worthless”.

    I hate to say this, but…I will delete any post that is not cordial and civil. Sharing, listening, and problem solving agreements happen when people respect each other.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 29, 2011 @ 14:18:08

      Tom and A…I just wanted to nip things before anyone came on and started attacking (I’ve seen that elsewhere). Really, what both of your posts did was bring out how I really feel: We don’t always listen to each other. AG, that’s MY rant. I find too many in the world stop or never even begin to listen to an opposing view. So.. I wanted to set up some parameters. It makes me feel, then, that it is a safer environment to post.

      The above was not “aimed” at you two, but the comments had me go there. Sorry, I was not trying to cast stones.


  13. Alejandro
    May 29, 2011 @ 14:18:46

    Stuart i understand your concern but really it is just a discussion. Like I mentioned on FB, I value Tom’s views. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with all of them but I truly do understand what Tom is saying.
    The issues I have with the last comment is that not all parents have the capacity to send their children to the next community, be it lack of transport, money, whatever. By all means go online as an adult to learn but at a young age we need to interact with others. We need to play as well as learn.

    Lastly Stu, I am RIGHT!!!or maybe WRONG!!! your choice LOL


    • bornstoryteller
      May 29, 2011 @ 14:30:33

      A..yes, I know. It is a button I have, and a knee jerk reaction, but I have strong reactions to certain things, and this just set me in the direction of “ok..better put a notice up” about how I feel things should go on this blog. It’s the moderator in me wanting to set up my “rules of conduct” and was not meant to be a slap on the hand to anyone. Sorry if it was taken that way.

      Hmmm and…we are right and wrong, at times. Some more than others.


  14. Alejandro
    May 29, 2011 @ 14:33:22

    LOL… Tom ??? give us a hug mate!!!!



    • bornstoryteller
      May 29, 2011 @ 14:34:53

      Hugs all around! 🙂


    • tom
      May 29, 2011 @ 14:53:29

      Love ya, bro!

      Can I address the social interaction part? I agree with the need. I was an athlete and couldn’t have played ball in a cyber-school setting. My best-friends just signed his daughter up to a cyber-school and I brought up the concern. Here is what the school did. They have regularly planned field trips and scheduled time at rec centers for the kids to play and interact. Not perfect, but it’s a start. And he’s a stay-at-home dad, so he has the time. Also, as far as sports, there are local leagues that they can join to play. More and more of them these days. Plus there are the kids in the neighborhood. Not sure how to address that point. My main concern is control. Home schooled children consistently score higher on standardized tests. Something to learn from their success.

      As far as transportation, the school you choose can provide pickup and delivery as part of their service to you. It’s already being done here by private schools.


      • bornstoryteller
        May 29, 2011 @ 15:15:50

        Tom..yes, there are the sports things, and arts, and other interactive programs available. For the home schooled/cyber community, this needs to grow. After school programs are normally called “Enrichment” now instead of just After School. Sounds better.

        Maybe this is a movement to look into. Social Engagement outside of the school, but educationally sound as well.

  15. Manoj
    May 29, 2011 @ 14:57:35

    Hi every body !

    Are you hear this sweet sound here whats our futures are saying? !!
    ” Hear my voice’ its my choice. Freedom to choose my future my school.”

    whats your opinion? Is it possible?
    If you ask me, I will say no, not at all … to my futures.


    • bornstoryteller
      May 29, 2011 @ 15:17:22

      Mano..I’m sorry you feel you are in that NO situation. I would like to hope that if enough did something things would change. If you had NO restrictions to fighting for what you want, how would you go about it (non-violently)?


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