A Message From Dr. Bell  

May 16, 2014
It is another “hakuna matata” moment as the circle of life slowly spins again here at Pride Rock (a.k.a. Educational Service Unit 10). The legislative season has officially ended and the annual law firm policy update service notification has arrived. It is once again time to prepare new policies or revise existing policies to comply with all of the new laws that have been created to “help” us as we go about the business of educating the children of Nebraska. Even more exciting are the list of interim studies that give us a peek into the future of new opportunities that might be coming our way as the next cycle begins. It’s good to know there are some certainties in life much like the sparrows returning to Capistrano or the Sandhills Cranes resting in the Platte River Valley during their annual trek.

The thought of new responsibilities and challenges for public school districts reminded me of the work of a gentleman from Iowa named Jamie Vollmer. Jamie is a very engaging individual. He has developed materials titled, “The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools.” This is a report about how society has changed what public schools do over the years. It all starts with the first schools that appeared in the 1640s and goes to our present situation. Mr. Vollmer lists the growth of school responsibilities by decades. It is quite entertaining to see when certain programs were inserted into our schools. The 34 inch poster that displays 97 programs that have become expected services in school districts is very enlightening. The disconcerting thing is his comment that “we have not added a single minute to the school calendar in six decades.”

I have a feeling that this poster is going to be shared with our state governmental leaders prior to the next legislative session. Not only do schools continue to provide the listed services, but it is done in an era of increased scrutiny of academic rigor and student achievement. Each year the burden grows. I applaud all people who work in the education profession and make such a huge difference in the lives of students as you work to provide maximal opportunities for every child.

You might want to check www.jamievollmer.com to get your own copy of the mentioned poster or the next time you are at ESU 10 ask me if I have an extra copy!

As always, let us know what we can do as we “partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support.” The ESU 10 staff is continually looking at ways to better serve you. It is an exciting time in education and we look forward to work with you to meet and surpass all of the new challenges and opportunities that come our way.