Friday, February 10, 2023

Everybody Wants to Talk About Accountability, But Nobody Wants to be Accountable

"Everybody wanna go up to heaven/but nobody wanna die/I don't know why." Peter Tosh

I'm going to tell a personal story from a few years ago. I will change the names to protect everyone's privacy and feelings. I have a school friend who we will call Cindy. Cindy is someone I've known for going on 40 years. 

A few years ago, one of her children was graduating from high school. He joined a group of kids on a senior prank. It was common for soon-to-be graduates to break into the school on the weekend before graduation and move furniture around and leave some goofy posters. For years it was the tradition and had never gone too far with the "damage." In fact, there had never been damage, just some stuff moved around and a few funny posters put up. No harm done. Unfortunately this time, things were a little different. A smaller group of kids from the larger group had decided to do cause some real trouble. Things got ugly. Real vandalism occurred: property was destroyed, walls were spray painted. Cindy's son wasn't actually involved with the real vandalism and wasn't actually in the area where it happened, but he was in the school. I believe her about her son not being in the wrong group, but again — he did break into the school.

The principal found out who some of the people involved were and slowly managed to get a decent list of people involved with the general shenanigans as well as the destructive ones. He pressed charges on those who did real damage to the school and then the principal decided that anyone who had broken into the school would not be able to walk at graduation. Cindy lost her mind. She, and some friends, took to social media and the editorial page of the local paper to air their grievances about the unjust nature of the punishment. Cindy is a parent I know personally. She told me on many occasions that people who commit crimes should be punished. But, when it came to her son, even though he was definitely and admittedly in the school when he should have been, she didn't want punishment.

And that is the real problem I see in society right now — everybody wants to talk about accountability, but nobody wants accountability when it comes to them. We want accountability in theory, but not in practice. Sadly that isn't how accountability works, gang. I can see it in schools all the time. The parent who wants "high standards," but then when his child doesn't make the grade, he wants the child's grade raised. The teacher who doesn't accept late work from students, but routinely fails to do lesson plans, provide feedback, or evaluate assessments in a timely manner. The administrator who has no empathy toward a teacher's personal matters outside of work, but then leaves work early to go to the doctor or the bank. It goes around and around and everyone screams out, "Where is the accountability?" However when put in a situation, they are quicker to say, "But there should be an exception for me!"

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Difficulties of Opening New Private International School in Daegu, Korea (according to ChatCPT)

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post about the difficulties of opening new school in Daegu, Korea. It focused on the specific challenges we were facing in doing it, but I was curious to see what ChatGPT thought the difficulties would be. Overall, ChatGPT was right on the money, but I feel that it is because new schools face similar problems everywhere, so it was easy for the AI to "answer" the question. Here is the answer it provided:

Opening a new private international school in Daegu, South Korea can present various difficulties that need to be overcome to ensure success. Some of the significant challenges are:

Competition: Daegu is a competitive market for international private schools, with many established institutions offering similar programs and services. New schools need to differentiate themselves to attract students and also compete with online education options. (This was interesting, because there aren't actually many international schools in Daegu. I'm very interested in how this part of the answer come out. I'm guessing ChatGPT was working of a general source of information about opening international schools in general and it applied it to Daegu without checking to see if that was the case locally. As this technology evolves over time, it will be able to give specific information from a location.)

Cultural differences: South Korea has a unique culture, language, and educational system that can be challenging for those unfamiliar with the country. Schools must understand and be inclusive of these cultural differences to build a supportive community.

Regulatory compliance: International private schools in South Korea must comply with a complex set of regulations and standards at the national and local levels, including obtaining necessary licenses, permits, and certifications, and meeting student safety, curriculum, and teacher qualifications standards.

Staffing: Recruiting and retaining qualified staff is crucial, but can be challenging as the pool of qualified international educators may be limited and competition for top talent is fierce. Schools must offer competitive compensation and benefits and have a supportive workplace culture.

Marketing and enrollment: Marketing and enrollment are major challenges for any new school, and schools must effectively communicate their unique value proposition, build a strong reputation, and align their programs with changing demands and expectations.

Infrastructure and facilities: Developing necessary infrastructure and facilities can be costly, especially in a city like Daegu with high real estate prices, and schools must consider the long-term maintenance and operational costs.

Curriculum and program development: Developing a quality curriculum and educational program is critical and schools must adapt to changing needs and expectations of students.

IT infrastructure and technology: Schools need robust IT infrastructure and technology to support operations and meet the needs of students and staff, which can be a significant challenge for new schools.

Financing: Obtaining sufficient financing to cover the costs of opening a new school can be difficult, especially in a competitive market like Daegu. Schools may need to secure loans, grants, or partnerships with investors to secure funding.

These are some of the difficulties that a new private international school in Daegu may face. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, effective communication, and a commitment to providing high-quality education.