Why no one likes standardized tests

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But Misses Kriegel! Why can't we have more standardized tests?

Teachers hate giving them. Students hate taking them. Parents hate seeing their kids endure them. Who likes standardized tests besides politicians and the makers of these tests?

You finally see some politicians take up the cause of less testing. But some fear the pressure has already done too much damage to students, parents and schools.

Whether standardized tests are good or not, there was never any good campaign to promote standardized tests with the public. The marketing was poor or nonexistent. It was merely seen as a measuring stick by which all schools should be measured. The problem is, if all a school has time to do is measure whether the kids are learning, there is never any time for teaching… or at least the kind of teaching that makes kids fall in love with lifetime learning.

Why should I let my light shine?

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cartoon of two men. One says, I would like to let my light shine, But I'm afraid I would be accused of arson.
This cartoon appeared in the January, 2015 CHOG News e-newsletter


Thanks to Jesus words in Matthew 5:16, Christians love to go around talking about letting our lights shine. As an introvert, that verse has sounded like a threat to me instead of a dose of encouragement. If I let my light shine, do I reveal something I may later regret? Will I look like a fool because what I shone light on was a nice, little skeleton in someone’s closet?

Then again, whenever I listen to the news and hear the latest doom and gloom about the latest crime, terrorist attack or miscellaneous dirty deed, I realize the world could use a little more brightening.

Should I let my light shine? What’s the alternative? Do I sit around and watch the world get darker and scarier? Or do I do something good with what I have? Should I be concerned someone will take my good deeds and turn them into something horrible like arson?

Dr. Martin Luther King went endured abuse and lost his life in the name of civil rights. If we do good, can we expect abuse? Yes, people who go against the status quo and reveal darkness can expect pushback. But light and love must prevail.

On this Martin Luther King day, I am reminded of one of his quotes:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. at brainyquote.com

Should I let my light shine? Yes, I’ll do the best I can. It’s the only way to drive out the darkness.

A New Year Means a New Focus

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Photo of a camera shutter representing a new focus

A lot has happened for me in 2014. This year, I graduated with my MBA from Anderson University. That is something I would have never thought of doing five years ago. If you would have asked me in early 2010 what my career goals were, I would have said I just want to continue being a designer and illustrator.

I don’t regret my career choice, and I consider design and illustration two great career choices. They allowed me to have a long career in publishing. They helped me feed two kids and for a time, allowed my wife to stay home with them. It was a great ride.

But about five years ago, I realized the world had changed dramatically, and it would do no good to ignore it. Technology has fundamentally changed the world of publishing and graphic design. Continue reading A New Year Means a New Focus

Have a Merry Christmas Joy Ride!

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Cartoon of Santa chasing a sleigh full of mischievous elvesCartoon of santa running after his sleigh. Elves are in the sleigh and they look like they are having the time of the life. The caption says, “Thanks to a joy ride, Christmas was nearly canceled!”

I loved this cartoon when I first wrote it because it reminded me of a childhood fantasy. I used to wonder what it would be like to take a ride in Santa’s sleigh. Wouldn’t it be great to take a ride across the countryside on Christmas Eve? All the Christmas lights and moonlight would reflect on the new snow, Smoking chimneys fill the air with the smell of hickory, oak and pine. Never mind that there is probably no seat belts in the sleigh and the airbags have never been tested!

By the way, don’t try this at home, kids. You can’t get a hold of Santa’s sleigh and the only joy ride should be with certified, licensed elves.

May you have a blessed, Merry Christmas!

Why who is in a classrooms matters

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Cartoon of a baby, two adults and a scarecrow

Cartoon of two adults and baby with a scarecrow. A man says about the scarecrow, “He doesn’t interact with the kids much. But he’s always available and on time.”

I can usually tell when someone doesn’t feel comfortable in a classroom. They don’t look much different from the scarecrow in my cartoon. They’re stiff, standing tall among all the kids. They do dress better than a scarecrow, however. They also have a more worried look than the scarecrow in this picture. Continue reading Why who is in a classrooms matters