School Highlighted by Obama Has Nasty Truth

If you watched Obama’s State of the Union like I did last week, you heard him mention Bruce Randolph School in Denver, Colorado:

“Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver,” the president said. “Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado. Last May, 97 percent of seniors received their diploma.”

Hmm. Neat.

Wait…how’d they do that? Well, brace yourself:

Bruce Randolph was a middle school when it opened in 2002. In 2007, Denver Public Schools gave Bruce Randolph School permission to operate autonomously. It was the first school in the state to be granted autonomy from district and union rules.

Each teacher then had to reapply for his or her job. A published report said only six teachers remained.

“Teachers who didn’t believe in the students didn’t come on board,” said Kristin Waters, principal during the transition. Teachers also had to have “a willingness to learn and to grow and to work with other teachers.”

Bruce Randolph became a school for students in sixth to 12th grades. The school’s website described the school’s Challenge 2010 Plan. It said each class of students will be cultivated to identify themselves collectively as people who will graduate together, six years after they are assembled.

“All of our teachers are really dedicated to the students and they are really focused on getting us past high school to college,” said Maria Miller, a senior. “Our teachers take more time with us and they make sure we are getting what we need to know.”

Emphasis is mine.

So, they dropped their union shackles and instead of worrying about what color to carpet the copy room and lounge, as is the case here in Indiana, they also hired a bunch of teachers who cared. Boy howdy, that’s a doozy of a detail.

The Campaign for Real Websites

Dove Soap has their “Campaign for Real Beauty” and the milk producers of America have their “Campaign for Real Milk”, so I think it only fair that web designers have a “Campaign for Real Websites”.

I’m talking about those fly-by-night website building websites. These are sites that have drag-and-drop functionality with a few elements and they let build your own site based on the few parameters it allows.

The problems with those are many, but to illustrate it, think about the last time you watched someone give a PowerPoint presentation. Do you remember what it looked like? Probably not, but you’ve probably seen it before. It probably used the same tired themes and clipart that’s been used by PowerPoint users for years. The result is a largely forgettable, formulaic and useless set of slides.

A website shouldn’t be a theme applied to 10,000 other websites. It should be unique and memorable. And if the aesthetic reasons aren’t enough to convince someone those website building websites are useless, the technical reasons might be more convincing.

For starters, many produce Flash-based websites. That’s how they let you have “creative freedom”, except, they don’t bother telling you that your website won’t work with nearly 20 million devices that don’t support Flash and Google can’t index your site, which means poor search ranking for you.

Second, if they do produce HTML, they produce it using 10 year old standards. The pages will be constructed and built in an un-semantic way that plops out a website that’s already out of style and out of touch.

So what are some good alternatives? There aren’t any. Sites that make websites don’t work and they produce “faux sites”. That’s why it’s past time to start The Campaign for Real Websites.

This Week’s Tweets

  • The whole concept of "filenames" has got to go for lay people. I just got a Word Doc with 11 words in it. #
  • Take a second and think what would happen to you, this country and our economy if the President suddenly "turned off" the Internet. #
  • I need some initial thoughts and opinions on a work-in-progress: #
  • Do you have spare office supplies or furniture? Susie's Place of Avon is expanding into Bloomington & needs supplies. #
  • Transferring a domain name from, of all places, Yahoo. Who knew they did domain registration? #
  • That guy who shot IMPD Office Moore? Yeah, he robbed the Dollar Store just down the street from me for cash to get out of town. *shivers* #
  • It's been brought to my attention that the students of Ben Davis Univ. High School will be graduating soon. Consider yourself warned! #
  • Just had an "Oh thank goodness" moment when I realized a site I was working on in IE was being mangled b/c it was in Quirks Mode. Whew! #
  • Well hello there, Beautiful. #
  • $2.99 14 day Kindle book rentals need to be invented NOW. #
  • IMPD Officer David Moore died earlier this morning. Lucky for us, Indiana has a death-penalty. I suggest we use it. #
  • Obama is right. We need jobs. Steve Jobs. #
  • Also, I kept hoping Obama would say some crazy shit like, "We're all goin' to Neptune and the spaceship's right here! Get in!" #
  • Justin's SOTU summary: "The fecal material is about to hit the ventilation and unfortunately Pelosi and Boener is the best we've got." #
  • Every news outlet in the country has already written stories and covered the State of the Union and it hasn't even aired yet. #
  • Even as Indy says goodbye to an officer shot in the line of duty, a few people still squawk some ugly comments: #
  • Tonight, the US will do the one thing in the Constitution neither side has tried to misinterpret: The State of the Union #
  • Great comments, too: RT @jonbrewerphoto: What do students learn in their first 2 years of college? Very little…” #
  • I'm a big fan of divided government. R's and D's can crow all they want and it doesn't matter because we have sweet, sweet gridlock. #
  • Dear Internet: I can't go to bed until my client's DNS records get updated. Chop chop. #
  • Larry Page to take over Google & improve Google's SEO. "Google's search engine is an Internet search searching engine." #

[email protected]#K-In!

Wyoming and Iowa are having some serious problems. While these states no doubt have stopped everything they’re doing to stop The Gay, they still face those pesky problems with reality.

Thankfully, I have a solution. Talking to these people doesn’t work because it’s not like legislators ever listen to people anyway. Reasoning sure as hell doesn’t work. I suppose we could go the Briscoe Darling route, but that may bit a bit extreme.

My solution is what I’m calling a [email protected]#K-IN! Just get a bunch of gays, lesbians, transvestites and bisexuals together like some froo-froo motorcycle gang and set ’em all on the steps of your neighborhood statehouse and just hug, kiss, bang and screw each other till every legislator, judge and elected busybody in the whole state can’t even see straight anymore.

I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the legislators didn’t come out and join in. If nothing else, do that every day until they learn to leave people alone and stop legislating such frivolous, religious-based things.