John received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in music, from California State University, Fullerton. For many years afterward he taught music at several colleges.
In 1986, soon after the birth of his first child, he decided to make a change in the trajectory of his career and life. He became an elementary school teacher, teaching general education. He remained an elementary teacher for over thirty years before he retired in 2016. During that time, he and his wife, Patricia, also a teacher, raised three wonderful children and were involved in creating and developing educational products, including classroom instructional materials, seminars, and support materials for interactive educational software. Today, they and their tortoise, Littlefoot, live in Idyllwild, California. Their children are now grown and busy with their own careers and starting families of their own. These days, John balances his musical interests with what he considers an urgent need to reform—really reform—school curriculum and the way in which teachers are trained.
If you are interested in what goes on in our schools, be on the lookout for John’s new book, Test Education vs. Best Education: Let’s Save Our Children from a Bad Idea. It is scheduled to be released in May. The book doesn’t pull any punches in condemning the obsessive focus by those in charge of our schools on standardized testing. It offers, as an alternative, a rational and viable plan for switching the focus of education to three major themes: caring for oneself, caring for Spaceship Earth, and caring for Earth’s other passengers. These themes reflect our shared humanity.
Throughout the book, John makes it clear that, by changing the focus of education, we won’t sacrifice any so-called “academic rigor” promised by the current system. By optimizing the learning experience and making it meaningful for children, we can more easily achieve academic rigor by giving it a better and more exciting application. We will also save billions of dollars that continue to be wasted every year on go-nowhere reform efforts initiated by stumbling bureaucrats who have lost sight of the purpose of education.