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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

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Leading to Reform: October 7

This Week’s letter highlights some uncovered Steve Jobs leadership antidotes, rules for success in school and life, a primer on Obama and Romney’s education promises, student engagement and how leaders can sustain and prevail. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.

Untold Steve Jobs Stories
Much has been written about Steve Jobs and leadership. However, there remains many stories about the co-founder of Apple that you haven’t heard, stories that leaders can learn from.

The reason he got such great people to work at Apple, unlike most bosses, is that he appreciated great work. There are two components to giving employees great feedback. It takes someone who has the taste to know when you did great or lousy, and it takes someone who’s blunt enough to tell you. There are plenty of people who don’t have taste but are blunt.

Jobs knew that if you wanted to do great work, you could do it at Apple. But there was a cost -- public humiliation. Something like this could never have happened at HP. It’s contrary to the HP way. On the other hand, you couldn’t do your best work at HP because there is no one there to appreciate it. Where would you rather work -- Apple or HP?
Learn More...


How Children Succeed in School
ASCEND, the K-8 school in Oakland, CA., asked students to practice six habits. They called them the "Ways to Ascend," although later students remembered them as "the rules." They were:
  1. Take charge of your own learning
  2. Be kind and considerate
  3. Help each other
  4. Persevere
  5. Be responsible for yourself, your family and your community
  6. Be reflective

One commenter wrote: “What really stuck with me is the ASCEND RULES. I use that through life, like taking charge of your own learning and perseverance, etc. I felt ASCEND prepared me a lot educationally and just life in general, to think more out of the box."

When I looked at the trends across our graduates in terms of who finished high school, who made it through college, finding their way through troubled or difficult situations, the author shows patterns that indicated high social and emotional intelligence. The success stories did not point to GPA or cognitive intelligence. They point to soft skills; the skills leaders must have and are looking for in staff and colleagues. Learn More...

From the Sunday Papers...

President Obama & Governor Romney on Education
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s take on President Obama and Governor Romney’s education platforms. There are no silver bullets to education reform but investing in teachers and bold reforms benefits children the most.
Here's a great infographic on the topic…

President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, deserve credit for designing federal incentives to encourage smarter policy. The Race to the Top program did that by channeling more than $4 billion of grants to states if they could meet certain benchmarks. His policies have spurred a healthy change in districts across the country.

Romney is best viewed through the prism of Massachusetts, where he was governor. The state had the highest-ranked schools in the country during that time.

Romney, like Obama, supports charter schools, better evaluation of teachers and some form of pay for performance. He also would promote the use of vouchers federally.

As governor, Romney supported additional testing, including a high school exit exam. He vetoed a bill that would have put a moratorium on the opening of new charter schools. He supported merit pay (though he lost that battle).

Romney and Obama aren't that far apart on education policy, and Romney's ideas on vouchers are worthy of a fuller discussion. We still believe that poor kids deserve as much choice as their wealthy counterparts.

Exhaustion is Not a Status Symbol
Professor Bene Brown
writes in Daring Greatly, how vulnerability and balance are leadership skills we all need to sustain and prevail —the subject of her research and popular Ted Talks—ultimately leads to a more deeply fulfilling professional and personal life. In this edited transcript of our conversation, Brown shares her thoughts and research on how today’s workplace too often hinders that pursuit.

Service Learning Builds Student Engagement
There isn’t one silver bullet to education reform, but at the National Youth Leadership Council they know something that is working. The National Youth Leadership Council hosted a public briefing to discuss how the Guilford County school district in Greensboro, North Carolina achieved high levels of academic success by implementing a character development and service-learning initiative that engages the students themselves in their own education.
Learn More...

Here are your links of the week:

“There are many things coming due just past the 2012 election. Somebody is going to have to compromise making a grand bargain so most of us don’t go over the cliff this country is standing at.” --Joseph Stiglitz in How our Divided Society Endangers our Future


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