Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity . . . Or Anoint a Magic Helper?

With Jon Stewart’s satirical/heretical/fantastical rally now just a few days away – and with memories of Glenn Beck’s own DC fiesta still a recent memory – I’ve been wondering what, if anything, these two cultural events have in common. As I do, I keep thinking about Erich Fromm’s 1941 classic Escape from Freedom, and how both men seem to be wrestling with the same tension Fromm explored in his psychological exploration of modern man – namely, our dialectical relationship with freedom itself, and what that relationship tells us about ourselves and the societies in which we live.

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Free Speech for Teachers? Think Again . . .

In case you missed it, there was a major case last week involving the First Amendment rights of teachers to make curricular content decisions. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling puts another nail in the coffin of the free-speech rights of public employees.

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It’s the Development, Stupid

Two years ago, my wife and I signed up to receive monthly emails charting our son’s development. When he was still in utero, the emails began with visual markers of his growth – he was the size of a grape at one stage, the size of a kumquat at another. Now, as he toddles his way through the world, the information is more focused on his behavior, reassuring us, for example, that a recent rise in meltdowns actually means that his development is “right on track.”

Across that same period, I’ve been part of a founding group that will, in August 2011, open a new public school here in DC (a school my son will one day attend). And what I’ve learned is that, for reasons I can’t fully understand, most of our country’s pre-schools maintain this evaluative focus on child development – and most middle and high schools abandon it altogether.

Why is this?

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The Gift, a.k.a “Waiting for Superman”

This morning, I received an email from my dear friend Maya Soetoro-Ng, a lifelong educator and all-around deep thinker, who wrote to her friends and family after seeing Waiting for Superman. Please read it — her way of framing the opportunity provided by the film is exactly what we need to hear.

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The X Factor of School Reform

In case you missed it, there was a great piece in yesterday’s New York Times, the core message of which has a lot of relevance for those of us who, barely a week removed from not one but two major reports of misleading test data being used to evaluate schools and school districts, continue to […]

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Sir Ken’s a Cartoon! Sir Ken’s a Cartoon!

The good people at RSA Animates are at it again, and this time they’ve turned my friend and colleague Sir Ken Robinson into, well, a cartoon — and they’ve animated his core ideas all around him as he speaks. Must-see TV, and, as always, Sir Ken breaks it DOWN. Check it.

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Live Chat Today at 10:00am EST — Michelle Rhee and the Future of School Reform in DC

For anyone interested, I’m about to do a live chat about Michelle Rhee and the future of DCPS. If you have a question or an idea, click here. The conversation will run from 10:oo-10:30am EST.

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The Fake Revolution

If you spent any time in front of the TV last week, you may believe a revolution is underway in America’s classrooms. NBC dedicated a week of its programming to seed in-depth conversations about how to improve our schools. A new documentary about public education opened across the country to sold-out audiences. And a young […]

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A New Must-See Film About Public Education (no, not THAT film)

Tomorrow night, I’ll be attending a DC screening of the new film, World Peace . . . & Other 4th Grade Achievements. This is not a movie that will touch you emotionally — and leave you at a loss for how to really improve the system. It will touch you emotionally — and leave you […]

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