Submitted by Phil on Mon, 10/11/2021 – 05:08

No constraints = no problem to solve = boredom

Within self-determination theory, the concept of Mastery calls for a task that is challenging and attainable: too easy, boredom; too hard, quitting. A challenging task implies some friction or constraints. Finding that balance is one of the roles of a teacher/manager.

My Speech at the Statehouse to the Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Submitted by Phil on Tue, 02/18/2020 – 14:48

Good afternoon, it is a profound honor to speak to you today, thank you. I am Phil Downs. I am a social studies teacher currently on assignment as the superintendent of Southwest Allen County Schools, and I was asked to speak for five minutes today on the research I have done into Indiana’s budget and its Voucher program. 

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How Do Images Move and Transfer?

Submitted by Phil on Thu, 12/26/2019 – 11:19

“Something inside one person takes external form — contained by a poem, picture, melody, play, etc — and through a certain kind of engagement, is transferred to the inside of someone else. Art as a transit system for images.” – Lynda Barry

Address to the 2019 Indiana School Board Association Conference

Submitted by Phil on Sat, 10/05/2019 – 10:34

In 1949, my parents were 10 years old, Harry Truman was president, the Mann Gulch fire revolutionized the study of forest fires, the Berlin Blockade ended, Mao Tse Tung became the premiere of the People’s Republic of China, the Geneva Convention was signed, Lucky Lady II performed the first non-stop circumnavigation flight of the planet, 1984 was published, NATO was established, Newfoundland joined Canada, the world’s first commercially available computer, The Ferranti Mark 1, was released, and the first ISBA/IAPSS conference was held. It is my profound honor to be addressing the 70th ISBA/IAPSS conference. Congratulations everyone.

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Indiana Education Spending

Submitted by Phil on Sat, 04/20/2019 – 07:51

Indiana Education Spending

Here is a fact: from 2009 to 2018 the Tuition Support budget used to pay Indiana’s public and charter school teachers has grown by 13% while inflation has grown by 17%, and the total Indiana General Fund Budget grew by 21%. There is money in the General Fund to bring Education funding up to inflation. Our elected officials made a choice to move money away from public and charter educators and are failing to live up to the responsibility to fund public education they took on in 2009. 

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On Building a Team

Submitted by Phil on Thu, 12/27/2018 – 13:26

Came across this in Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk.

“The only thing any of us can do completely on our own is to have the start of a good idea.” -Kathy Sullivan

It takes a network or team to build something great. A leader has to let their vision adjust to that of the group.

Indiana’s Schools Deserve Better

Submitted by Phil on Mon, 10/16/2017 – 05:45

“Applying simple solutions to complex problems creates more complex problems.” -Ronald Heifetz

Recently Indiana released the A-F grades for its schools. Each year there is a chance any given school’s ISTEP+ scores and A-F grades may go up or down. This is because ISTEP+ fits statistical models and “regression to the mean” is a real thing. 

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