Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sixten's saga – II

Further discussion

On Facebook

The early Facebook discussion on this topic on  was introduced on Conductive World on:

It continues as follows –

Norman Perrin
Is the lesson in Robert's story of the failure of his Maryland school district to attract a single applicant conductor or one about the need for more conductors to be trained – demand outstripping supply?

Robert S. Kurz
Yes, this is exactly the case! Pető in Budapest can not supply all the Conductors the World needs! There need to be more training centers in North America and Dr Schaffhauser needs to take a course in Capitalism 101! CE needs to follow the Montessori model.
Montessori figured it out on the 60s and we are STILL waiting for Pető to share their method with the rest of the world! How do we reach Schaffhauser and set up more North American training centers?

Andrew Sutton
The impossibility of conductor-supply from a single, uni-national source has been apparent since the start of the internationalisation of Conductive Education.
The answer does not lie in Hungary.
Capitalism makes the solution very clear. If a market wants conductors, or something to achieve the same desired outcome, then it must create the means to produce them.
The bad news from Capitalism is that that the given market may not be able to create, never mind sustain production of what is presently wanted.
The good news from Capitalism is that it is possible for a creative market to create other means. Maybe even other sources of supply!
The questions for Conductive Education within given markets are not for Hungary to ask, never mind answer. Nor probably for 'associations'. They are for people on the ground, working ingeniously to meet their own particular requirements.
And, the very good news for the US, that's the genius of America.

Shelley Lehrmann Jepson
Even when you have the training centre, speaking of the Aquinas College program in Grand Rapids, MI, USA, its a problem to get students aware of the program and then to sign up for it. The college used to be turning out around three American Conductors a year and now there is no one in the program from what I understand.
So sad!

Robert S. Kurz
Shelly, it's a what came first, the chicken or the egg type of situation and the answer for CE in America is that they have to come at the same time because we've already missed the boat! What I mean is that clearly more North American training centers have to be established. Aquinas can not supply on their own, but at the same time a grass-roots effort needs to take place with parents in every community and introduce CE to their public schools! The current model supported by ACENA, that is the small private centers here and there splattered across the US, does not work and is not sustainable! CE has to be offered as an option through public schools in every community, to every child who can benefit from it!
And that starts with parents contacting their local school districts! They work hand in hand (the supply vs. demand) and maybe 10 or 20 years from now we'll have it figured out in America!

Anna Ancsur Szabo
I don't think that using offensive language will solve the problem. Having to take the rather expensive Praxis exams might hold many of the conductors back from applying.

Robert S. Kurz
Hello Anna, Sixten's Foundation has offered to cover the full amount of the Praxis exams, plus up to $100 of travel expenses for anyone who takes our job. Further, we made arrangements with the ETS, the agency who issues the Praxis exams, so that these exams could be taken in Budapest, and even in Kuwait where one Conductor inquired from.
And yet, nobody takes the exam!
The response I receive from some Conductors is that they already have special training and they do not need to take any more exams! This is not the way it works in the real world and in a Western, Capitalistic society!
In ANY area of public service whether you are a Doctor, Lawyer, Heating Repairman, Auto Mechanic, Therapist, Policeman, Fireman. And YES!!!! even a special education teacher working with children must have the proper Certification to work in the State they live in.
This is simply what the Praxis exam is, a three-hour exam so that a foreign worker may have the certification to work in a specific state in the US!

Andrew Sutton
This discussion is also continuing, with especial reference to conductors, at :

Anna Ancsur Szabo
Dear Robert, I understand that you are upset, but why are you being so offensive? "This is not the way it works in the real world and in a Western, Capatalistic society!" Well yes, here in Hungary we live in caves and we don't have electricity :) And that all conductors and even Dr Schaffhauser should be embarrassed?! What for? By the way, wanting to employ 15 conductors at the same time is a lot; one should either be very lucky or should have something outstanding to offer...

Robert S. Kurz
Hello Anna, I am trying to improve the lives of special children in the United States and I am simply stating facts...and the fact is that for any public service contract (including public school teachers) in the United States and several other Westerized countries around the World, one must have the proper certification otherwise one is not permitted to have these jobs, this is just a fact Anna. Further, when I began this project three years ago to help children (namely my son) I was told by several conductors that they would help, but after I was successful and got the program approved, they all turned around and ran the other direction. Also at the ACENA convention in Chicago 2008, Dr. Schauffhauser made claims about plans of establishing "Global Partnerships" in the United States and to date, I know of no such steps taking place. Yes, I know fifteen conductors is a lot, but this was over a five- year plan, but the tragic end was that we could not even get ONE brave conductor to step forward for this Historic (first ever of its kind) program in an American public school!

Laszlo Szogeczki
Robert, as far as I know, some conductors wanted but they failed the exams... did'nt they?

Laszlo Szogeczki
I still suggest you, if I may, to change the system of accepting conductors there. It might work! In Germany, Stiftung Pfennigparade started to hire conductors as "teacher assistance" kinda way (working in the classroom next to the teacher) and then they could accomplish local exam. How about this?

Robert S. Kurz
Hello Laszlo, thank you for joining this discussion and for your suggestions! Yes, you are 100% correct, I know of exactly two (2) Conductors who took the Praxis II exam on a whim and without the official study materials that I sent to you and your wife after you contacted me about our program in Dec of 2009. In July of 2008 there was one male conductor who took this exam with literally NO knowledge about the content of the exam and NO studies prior to the exam (in fact we drank beer at a party the night before) and there was one female Conductor taking the Praxis II in the Fall of 2009 also without proper study materials. However BOTH test takers came within a few points of passing, so with the proper study material such as I sent you, it should not be a problem to pass with a little study and preparing! (Like I've said, thousands of foreign workers from around the World take this exam, pass, and work as teachers in the US...so I'm sure the wonderful Conductors I know can pass if they try!)
The idea of hiring a Conductor without certification such as you mention taking place in Germany is possible to work next to a certified teacher, but then that Conductor does not make a standard teacher's salary! Our position for a certified Conductor/Teacher offered over $50K, USD, for a ten- month teaching year, full benefits, paid vacation, retirement plan and security. A Conductor coming in without certification could only called an "assistant" and the salary would be less than $20K and the benefits are not as good. Would you bring your wife here from England for that? I should think not and I fully understand....it is a serious problem and I appreciate your feedback!!! Best to you and your wife, R

Jim Forliti
All I can say is that I can relate to Bob Kurz, who can see his boy`s joints being reorganized by CP; AND I have seen and heard some pretty bad stories from conductors who have been hired as conductors and then treated like nannies, working 18-hour days.
Everyone has a point. For me, it`s been rather simple. We have no big money at this point. It`s just a few families paying out of pocket. We go for a happy balance. One conductor who is glad to be here, getting a fair and a good wage. A few families who are happy to be learning.
Our focus has always been to insist that a child never comes into a CE room alone. There has to be a member of the family, or someone representing the family there to learn with the client. They`re all clients, in essence.
We`ve had the good (and bad) fortune to be out here on the quiet west coast, ignored and behind the rest of North America and Europe. Now that one conductor has decided to go for it and come here to build her business. Well, I`m just plumb tickled.
I am also amazed to see that a good living wage, with benefits and such didn`t take place in Maryland for even one conductor. Something weird about it. Then again, as an immigrant in Canada, I know it`s no small decision to move for a job like that. Maybe it was too good. Maybe a good many conductors have come to like the great necessity clients have for them. Maybe it`s become somewhat understood that a conductor is a temporary phenomenon that flies in, does the magic, and flies out. All that I can understand too.
In the final analysis, (at least for now!) I`m joyous now that we`ve gotten some foundation laid out here. It`s enough to convince one smart, and ambitious conductor that here lies a field worth working. And work it shall be; but it`s all hers, because she`s not a visitor any longer. I`m tired of arranging working VISAs.

Beth Brydon
The company that I work for is based out of Canada and they currently have a conductor training solution. They sponsor students to go train at the National Institute for Conductive Education and then upon graduation work for the company for two years. This is getting Canadian conductors trained and helping to get more of us in North America. This solution is not ideal, however it does work.
There is slowly becoming a population of North American conductors.. but it is slow!

Robert S. Kurz
Hi Beth, Thanks for the information! Where is the National Institute for Conductive Education? What degree does one earn there? Is it a bachelors degree in special education along with "conductor" status? Would love to know more about this training program if you can point me to a webpage...Thanks!

Beth Brydon
The National Institute for Conductive Education is located in Birmingham, England. The following is a link to their website... some parts of it are still under construction: http://www.conductive-education.org.uk/
At the institute you earn a BA (Hons) in Conductive Education along with your Qualified Conductor Status.
A closer-to-home training program is the Aquinas College in Michigan, if a partnership could be set up with them it might offer a 'made in North America conductor' solution.

And now on Conductive World too

See the Comments at the foot of Saturday's posting for Susie Mallett's extensive statement in defence of conductors in this matter:

Further comments?

Welcome on either site – or elsewhere.

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