Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update




« New entries in the adoption curve | Main | Espousing "social justice" is unprofessional »

My freely admitted biases

bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair Oxford Dictionaries

Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from a person writing a book about leadership in which there is a chapter on biases. He wrote:

One of my beliefs (OK, biases) is that a large share of biases aren't even recognized as such, so they never get challenged. I want to encourage people to identify and challenge their biases. Only by understanding their biases can they look at all options and set a direction for the team that will be successful.

...and requsted my permission to use some of my posted biases. I was delighted, as always that something I had written was useful, and it was a good excuse to re-examine my old list of biases that are linked on my blog.  Here we go.

My Freely Admitted Personal Biases as of August 2013

(subject to change on short notice)

About education:

  1. The solution to all the world's problems will rely on effective education (operative word is effective).
  2. Libraries and uncensored Internet access are vital to a democratic society.
  3. A teacher's primary job is to instill a sense of importance in his subject. Skills will follow.
  4. Schools should teach children to think, not to believe.
  5. Creativity, empathy, and humor are as important to success as reading, writing and numeracy.
  6. An effective school library program should be available to every child.
  7. Money alone won’t improve education. Chastisement alone won’t improve education.
  8. All citizens should pay for public education. Don't you want an educated person changing your drool bucket in the nursing home?
  9. Also see "All 10 fingers, all 10 toes" on my educational wishes for a new grandson.
  10. All kids should be treated the way I want my own grandchildren to be treated.
  11. There is no place in the future for teachers. Only co-learners.
  12. Like it or not, what gets tested, gets taught.
  13. On data driven decision-making: anything that you can get someone else to believe is true.
  14. Anything fun in education is automatically suspicious.
  15. The best way to show gratitude for a professional courtesy is to pay it forward. Show a person new to the field a kindness.
  16. When traveling, never eat anything you can't translate.

About politics and religion:

  1. Both politics and religion should be viewed with profound skepticism.
  2. Legislators should not require children to take tests that they themselves can’t pass.
  3. Standardized testing is more about discrediting public schools than improving education.
  4. All political extremists of both the left and right should be put in a compound surrounded by razor wire and armed guards in western North Dakota – and kept there. Ann Coulter and Al Franken should have to share a room.
  5. If life isn't fair, why should the afterlife be?
  6. The best gifts given are to those who are actually in need.
  7. Strength of opinion and depth of knowledge rise and fall in inverse proportion.

About technology:

  1. Technology is neutral.
  2. Best practices should drive educational change, not technology.
  3. Short-term fixes rarely fix anything and usually aren’t short-term.
  4. PowerPoint doesn’t bore people: people bore people.
  5. Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part.
  6. Cell phones are evil. (Exception to bias #1.)
  7. Macs are better than PCs. But both are detestable.
  8. More and better are not synonymous.
  9. My best decisions are made when I think of myself first as a child advocate, second as an educator, and lastly as a technologist.
  10. The motto of most technology departments should be: Solving problems with technology that you didn't have before there was technology.

About race and culture:

  1. Swedes are superior to Norwegians in every way. But mixed marriages can work. I’m a Swede, my wife (aka the LWW - Luckiest Woman in the World) is Norwegian.
  2. Everyone has a funny accent except Minnesotans.
  3. George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart are always right.
  4. Overpriced and unrecognizable food served in small portions artfully arranged on over-sized plates served by an obsequious waiter is not fine dining.
  5. No male over age 10 should wear bangs.

On human nature:

  1. Although I may not say it out loud, my grandsons are better than any other children on the face of the planet.
  2. I really want most urban legends to be true.
  3. Most of us would prefer shallow wit to deep intelligence in our writers and speakers. Thank goodness.
  4. Sport stadiums should be paid for by the people who use them; community centers, parks, bike trails, libraries, and swimming pools should be paid for by everyone.
  5. Smoking and overeating should be considered poor health choices, not moral failings.
  6. Most of us should be a lot more thankful than we are.
  7. Most of us should worry a lot less than we do.
  8. Change is inevitable - except in human nature.
  9. Say something nice about your spouse to your spouse everyday.
  10. If you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll spend your life waiting.
  11. It's easier to find something than to find it again.
  12. Rules and reasoning only work with the rational.
  13. Unless you are the bride, never be the thing people remember most about a wedding.
  14. Only English majors and film critics like tragic endings.
  15. Nice people ought to get better service.
  16. Charitable giving is the best investment you can make. Spoiling your children and grandchildren is the second best.
  17. The happiest people in the nursing home are the ones with the best stories, not the ones with the most money.
  18. If you can't find someone on whom to pass your stress, you're stuck with it.
  19. Everytime a grandfather farts, an angel gets its wings.

Lessons learned from bicycling

Johnson's Little List of Library and Technology Laws

Everyone should have such a list. Everybody's biased. It's OK. Just let the rest of us know where you're coming from

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>