The Issues I Care About
An inside look at D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed.
I am a new Medium writer, but I have been writing professionally for about 20 years. As most writers, I started writing unprofessionally when I was a kid.
I wrote my first play at the age of 9 and after my mother gave me my grandfather’s typewriter, I began pounding the keys every week writing sports stories about the games I would watch the night before.
Most writers like to read other writers work. We find authors and creators that we admire and naturally if you like someone’s writing, you want to know more about them, their background and what influences they're writing style.
So that’s the purpose of this post. To give a little more context for who I am, what type of writing influences me and the issues I care about writing about.
About The Writer
As a professional writer, I have been asked numerous times to write a bio blurb for marketing materials, press kits, and other published works. If you have never written a bio before, here’s how I decide what to include and what should be omitted.
I try and think about the audience that will be reading the bio. When I wrote my two plays that were performed off-off-Broadway in NYC, the audience that was going to read my bio was a theater crowd. Naturally, they would be more interested in what might have influenced the play they were watching and also any other theater related background that would be interesting.
Since my goal is to write a bio for Medium, I know that most people who read Medium are college educated, successful professionals who also appreciate good writing.
So this would be my sample bio for Medium:
D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Some people might call that a “work-a-holic” while others would call it a passion for life. He has worked in multiple industries, such as journalism, TV/Film, politics, and education.
Writing is the one common thread that runs through all of his endeavors and successses. He wrote for a radio station in NY as a reporter, he wrote for a newspaper in NJ. He wrote speeches for elected officials in NJ. He wrote scripts and copy for TV and Film. He wrote 2 plays that were on stage off-off-Broadway. And lastly, he wrote curriculum, professional development manuals and board policies in education.
If D.Scott can be summed up in a few words, it would be detail-oriented.
He never leaves any stone unturned when it has to do with something he is passionate about because he doesn’t want to be remembered as being mediocre, but someone who pushed the envelope and went to the outer limits of whatever he is pursuing.
I typically read a lot of non-fiction work. It’s just something that I always gravitate to more than fiction writing. But there is one fiction writer that I admire and influences me more than any other writer and that’s F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Other writers that I admire and support are Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell and a fellow Brandeis Alumnus, Mitch Albom.
At the moment, the most pressing issue on my mind is fixing the K12 system. Anytime I think about how awful the situation is in our schools, it frustrates me beyond words.
I can probably talk about schools and education for hours without realizing where the time has gone. I have spent 20 years inside the K12 system, but I didn’t just work in a classroom or a school, I studied it as I was working.
I was conducting high-level research while I was working. What that means is that I have collected more data and more knowledge than most K12 insiders and I know so much more than any educational researcher or outsider could ever possibly imagine.
To give some context, I have conducted over 10,000 classroom observations. I analyzed every one of those observations, collected data and developed best teaching practices from them.
When you include the over 250,000 hours of experience I have inside K12 classrooms, you can begin to understand how I was able to develop the most comprehensive and well-respected Teacher Development Program in New Jersey.
The unfortunate truth is that teachers become qualified to teach when they graduate from a collegiate education program, but they are not fully prepared to teach without some formal teacher preparation program.
The K12 system has created a formal structure to provide this type of preparation, but theory and reality do not match up. Teachers are supposed to spend about a year of student-teaching before getting certified to teach. And then after they are hired by a school district they receive anywhere from one to two years of formal mentoring and induction.
Without ruining the family atmosphere on Medium, in theory this sounds like a great preparation for novice teachers, but to be quite honest, it’s a dog and pony show.
Because all of these worthless teacher preparation activities never help prepare novice teachers, novice teachers are essentially thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool and told to “figure it out how to swim” on their own.
That was how bad it was before the Pandemic. After March 2020, the situation has gotten even worse. Every teacher, regardless of level of experience has had a 50 lb. weight tied to their ankles and been pushed into the deep end and told, “we hate you and by the way, you need to figure out how to swim” on your own.
At this point, America should hang its head in shame. We have the worst educational system in the world. There is nothing redeeming about it. And we continue to support it and defend it, which drives me up a wall.
The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the 21st Century. It’s beyond my comprehension why that is a goal we need to debate. It’s pretty clear that students need to learn how to be successful after they graduate. Why is that so difficult to get people to agree with?
I won’t go into all the details, but education, politics and media have all befallen the same fate. Things used to work, but after the Pandemic, all three areas of American life are a complete joke.
I hope you enjoyed getting a small glimpse into my background and my thoughts. If you enjoyed this post and have additional questions for me, please leave them in the comments. I also appreciate all new follows and any links and reposts of my Medium articles.