Tagged: Ankeny

High School Startup Talk (how-to)

This past Friday was Career Day at Ankeny Centennial High School (the high school near me). They invited me to talk about what I do in my career. I gave them several options (software engineer, consulting, entrepreneurship/startups). I was asked to speak on entrepreneurship.

Rather than just talk about me, I thought it’d be more fun (for me, but especially them) to show them how to create their own successful startup businesses.

In one of the three sessions I told the students that I was considering setting up some kind of extra-curricular “create your own startup” class, where I would mentor high-school-level students and help them create a business over the course of a semester. There seemed to be a lot of interest in it, so we’ll see where that goes.

The slides for my entrepreneurship talk are shared for viewing on Google Drive.

Feel free to use that for the basis of your own discussion of startups.

I won’t go further into the content of my talk here because I’d really rather devote several blog posts to the various points in the future.

 

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Civic Duty

I just can’t get over how blatant the republican politicians around the country are being about how much they don’t care about their constituents – including those that voted for them.

There’s of course those in the federal government trying to ram things through as fast as they can before people notice what they’re doing. But there are also problems at the state and local levels.

One main example is South Dakota – one of the most corrupt states in the country. On election day, voters passed the South Dakota Anti-Corruption Act. The purpose was to stop the bribery going on in their government. Within days of the new legislative session starting, the South Dakota GOP used emergency powers to repeal the new anti-corruption law. I read through some of the finer points of it and the only problem with the law was that it made it difficult for politicians to accept bribes.

The GOP government in Iowa is acting the same way – proving again and again that the voters are irrelevant. A couple recent items are 1) their net reduction in funding of public schools (again) and 2) their work to remove workers rights on collective bargaining.

At a recent hearing on the collective bargaining bill, a police officer stated, “Half of law enforcement folks I work with are Republicans. And we voted for Republicans because of conservative values. But we didn’t vote for Republicans to get stabbed in the back while we’re trying to dodge cars and bullets.”

I don’t personally have a horse in the race on the collective bargaining issue, but I do care about education, a lot. Education is one area where this country (and Iowa) has been slipping recently. I feel for those in the public education system in Iowa since these two issues combined must feel like a personal attack. Teaching is hard enough. People say, “we could always use more good teachers.” Are these legislative choices going to help or hurt the education of our children?

Iowans have been showing up in large numbers at hearings at the capitol, and at a legislative forum in Ankeny, IA. It doesn’t seem to be doing any good, however. They’re being pretty brash about saying they won’t make changes no matter what their constituents think.

A reason for the GOP’s actions? Money. Plain and simple.

At the Ankeny forum, Iowa state representative Kevin Koester indicated one sure fire way to fight back, saying that he’s “on the ballot every other year, and that’s one way you hold me accountable.”

In this last election cycle, a way higher percentage of registered republicans went and voted compared to other groups. So if you don’t like what’s going on with our government, get your ass to the polls next time!

 

 

Standards-Based Grading (in Ankeny)

Ankeny Community School District

ACSD Logo

I live in the city of Ankeny, Iowa. So my kids will (most likely) be going to schools in the Ankeny Community School District (ACSD).

Ankeny’s a bit behind in implementing the Common Core curriculum and is trying to get everyone up to speed on Standards-Based Grading (SBG). There have been a lot of rumors going around and some mis-information on the topic. Understandably, some parents are concerned about how this will impact their students. ACSD recently published a blog post all about SBG, why we’re doing it, and the process of implementing it in Ankeny. Rather than drone on, I’ll refer you to their full post here. (I thought it was very well written.)