Nov 11, 2013

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Teachers: Parents on the bench?

This morning, I was thinking excitedly about the moment I would drop the kids off at school and pass the baton of parenting over to their teachers. That’s right isn’t it? That’s largely what we expect.

We put in our nights and weekends. We do our best to teach, to pass on our moral grounding, to raise kids who will make responsible adults.

But, we get worn out. We can only deal with so much whining, or screaming, or disobedience or general suck on our energy. Thank God our second string parents will be there Monday morning to take over. Never mind that they may have another 24 kids waiting to be parented. It’s their job right?

No. Not really.

Because teachers aren’t there to fill a gap left by our inadequacies. They are there for a purpose unique to itself. They are there to be guides for our kids on a path of self-discovery and knowledge building. They are not there to be behavior modifiers. Or disciplinarians. Or even to be the main role model of adulthood that our kids have.

I don’t think you have a harder job than a teacher.

I didn’t ask you what your job is, but I don’t think it’s harder than being a teacher. There are few roles to play in this world more difficult than to be a teacher in an achievement gap school. They are under the microscope at every turn. They are scrutinized for every percentage point of testing that makes or misses the mark. They are the scapegoats for problems that are deeper issues that are dropped off by the bus on Monday morning.

People on certain party lines keep calling for performance pay.

  • Now is that for teaching…or for raising other people’s kids?
  • Is that for how well they teach reading…or for how well they maintain the outbursts of the child that hasn’t been taught how to be respectful to adults at home?
  • Is it for the joy of learning they can impart…or for teaching a parent that you need to bathe your child regularly or they will get bullied?
  • Is it for the college-readiness or for taking hours after school to follow up with child protection for a child who found trust in their teacher to talk about their sexual abuse.
  • Is it for the 8 hour duty day…or for the extra two hours after school and a Sunday afternoon and evening devoted to preparing for the week?

Please take an oath with me.

  • I will not take my child’s teacher for granted 
  • I will not expect my child’s teacher to raise my child
  • I will raise my child to be school-ready so my child’s teacher can be a teacher and not a bench parent
  • I will support my child’s teacher when an issue arises in the classroom, because I’m not there for 8 hours watching and I should trust the licensed adult in the room
  • I will do my role and follow up on homework…because it’s work for home
  • I will not scapegoat educators for the achievement gap. The achievement gap is a social and economic equity gap, not a problem of education.

Disclaimer: I’m married to an overworked teacher who relentlessly pursues being the best she can be for every student that comes into her classroom. 

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Jun 19, 2013

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2012 H.B. Fuller Philanthropy Report

H.B. Fuller is one of Minnesota’s largest Companies. We recently had the opportunity to help them tell the story of how their work has helped them give back to the communities in which they operate.

Here’s the 2012 H.B. Fuller Philanthropy Report that RedWire Creative recently designed.



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Jun 14, 2013

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RedWire Site Launch: Juxtaposition Arts

RedWire Creative has the best clients.

Because, we like to work with people who are working to change the world for good. People who plan on changing the world…and then they do. The local heroes. The movement starters. The cultural change agents. And so, it’s a great pleasure we announce the launch of a brand spanking new website for Juxtaposition Arts.

JXTA is a nonprofit youth art education program + teen staffed art and design enterprise + locally rooted cultural development center right here in North Minneapolis.

Get to know them. Check out the amazing photos by friend and RedWire teammate Phillip Hussong.




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Mar 6, 2013

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Another Simple Site Launched.

Here’s another RedWire website hot off the presses.

Tracy Babler. Writer. Grantwriter. Grammar nerd. But most importantly, storyteller.

Tracy is a wordsmith who has the unique ability to help you say what you meant to say, when you went rambling on and on not saying what you really wanted to say.

She’s a friend of RedWire, and now she has a simple clean website to put herself out there and help others tell their story. Need a writer for your next project? You know who to call…

Tracy Babler -

And some fancy new business cards to boot!



Tracy’s Logo was designed by Jessica Stephens




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Feb 26, 2013

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New RedWire Project Launched.

Just in time for the Minnesota Home & Garden Show, RedWire Creative just launched a new site for the best Stone Mason in the Midwest. (He just happens to be family…but, we’re not biased.)

Check out my brother-in-law, Daniel Arabella’s work at
Arabella Stone Co.


By the way, mad props to my man Victor Solovey in Prague, Czech Republic who does all my CSS and WordPress Implementation for RedWire. He’s becoming the Eastern European branch of RedWire. Need a coder? Give him a shout.

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Feb 9, 2013

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Review: Michelle Rhee’s, “Radical: Fighting to Put Students First.”

As part of my quest to read 50 books this year, I’m going to try write an Amazon review of each book after I finish it…just to add an extra layer of accountability to my goal.

Just finished Michelle Rhee’s Radical: Fighting to Put Students First.

Here’s my review at Amazon.

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Feb 6, 2013

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2013 January-June Reading List

Last year, I tried to up my reading. My brain needed a good workout.

Here’s my last post on my 2012 reading list. I didn’t quite get to the end, but feel accomplished nonetheless.

So, Let’s kick off my list for the first half of 2013. I’m setting a 1 year goal of reading 50 books this year, So I need to hop to it.

  1. X – To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink
  2. X – Love Wins – Rob Bell
  3. X – Radical: Fighting to Put Students First – Michelle Rhee (The much maligned. Can’t wait to form an opinion of my own)
  4. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  5. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  6. World Without End – Ken Follett
  7. Center Church – Tim Keller
  8. X – Why I Left Goldman Sachs – Greg Smith
  9. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  10. Animal, Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life – Barbara Kingsolver
  11. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer – Kai Bird & Martin J. Sherwin
  12. James Madison and the Making of America – Keven Gutzman
  13. X – Finnish Lessons – Pasi Sahlberg
  14. Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky – Carol Garhart Mooney
  15. X – Cooked – Michael Pollan
  16. X – Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
  17. X – The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
  18. And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
  19. Search Sweet Country – Kojo Laing
  20. The Instructions – Adam Levin
  21. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  22. Yes, Chef – Marcus Samuelsson
Add something to my list. It needs some diversity. What else should I be reading. I need a bit more non-fiction and some more authors who aren’t old white people.


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Dec 18, 2012

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Forget multitasking, try monotasking.

A quick short talk for today. In a world in which we all earn badges for being busy and getting mega checklists done, Paulo Cardini challenges us to mono task. Find the one thing, and focus.

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Nov 27, 2012

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How subtle nudging leads to behavioral modification.

Watched an interesting TED talk from Stockholm native Jonas Eliasson on How to Solve Traffic Jams. It made me start to think about whether the “nudge” that Eliasson talks about should be applied to other issues.

Eliasson ends his talk with the assertion that you shouldn’t tell people how to adapt. You should nudge them. And if you do it correctly, people will embrace the change.

Watch the short video then wonder with me about some other questions.

  1. Would a “nudge” in the gas tax lead to less cars on the road or a faster transition to alternative energy or modes of transportation.
  2. Would a series of nudges in health care reform have made the Affordable Care Act more digestible?

Imagine if Obamacare didn’t land as a major overhaul. Let’s say we start with outlawing the pre-existing condition clauses. Then a year later we tackled medicare cost structure. Then we tackled tort reform.

People wouldn’t be so up in arms about this vast socialist doctrine (which is actually a corporate handout to insurance, pharma and medical device makers). It would have been slowly embraced. Because, in small bites, it’s easier to choke down…

Don’t get me wrong. I think there is a time and place for broad, sweeping revolutionary action. But, this little TED talk gave me something to think about.

What else would benefit from a gentle nudge rather than a big reform?


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Oct 22, 2012

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There are no more Davids.

It just occurred to me that there will never be another David.

There will never be another time (pre-apocalyptic of course) in which the ability to create a human form from a rock in some semblance of perfection is a task relegated to a great artist. We can do this with computers. We can do this with 3D printers. We can do this with the push of a few buttons.

We may never be able to recreate the wonder of seeing ourselves emerge from anonymity in the way it was once done.

I think one of the major challenges of the future of our civilization and culture will be to recreate wonder, awe and inspiration in a world in which beauty can be programmed and art is reproduced at will.

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