Monthly Archives: December 2012

This is what community building through art looks like

Imagine if it occurred everywhere?

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Making Schools Safer in the Wake of Sandy Hook

As policymakers prepare to find the best way to respond to the tragedy in Newtown, educators and parents across the country are left to wonder – what can we do to make our schools safe?

The lessons of Sandy Hook Elementary School can help us answer that question in two ways – one that is uncomfortable, and one that is essential.

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The Monday After Newtown

This morning, my wife and I joined our son at a holiday breakfast celebration. The school’s multipurpose room (“the puh-pus room”, as Leo calls it) was filled with children between the ages of 3 and 6, who sat in a circle and sang songs while their parents leaned on walls and scanned the edges of the room for coffee. Then we broke bread together — each family bringing in dishes that represent “breakfast” to them: cranberry orange bread, hot tamales, donuts, fruit salad, and some delicious combination of onions and scalloped potatoes. The children quickly finished the food on their plates and then wove in and out of the groups of parents who stood and chatted, their teachers — all of them women — doing their best to maintain a small sense of order and decorum.

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What’s the difference between empathy and sympathy?

Glad you asked . . .

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The Learning Revolution, Circa 2012

Six years ago, a funny Englishman gave a stirring speech about how schools were stifling the creativity of their students. Today, Sir Ken Robinson is a worldwide celebrity, and his TED talk has been seen by as many as 100 million people.

How did that happen, exactly? And what is the state of the learning revolution Robinson urged us to launch?

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If Murder Can Be Tracked Like An Infectious Disease, Should Failing Schools Be, Too?

There’s a fascinating new story this morning, courtesy of NPR, in which a team of researchers pored over 25 years of murder data in Newark, New Jersey, and reached a surprising conclusion: murdering someone is not as individualized a decision as we might think. In fact, the researchers are suggesting we may need to adopt a different lens when viewing the problem, and start thinking of homicide less as an individual choice, and more as a reflection of a larger infectious disease like AIDS or the flu.

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When it comes to a longer school day, something’s gotta give

Now that five states are planning to add 300 hours of class time in an effort to close the achievement gap and re-imagine the school day, I can only come to one conclusion: Something’s got to give. Continue reading . . .

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The Power of Outrospection

Did you get the memo? Apparently, introspection is out, and outrospection is in. Actually, as philosopher Roman Krznaric explains in this cool new RSA Animate video, what’s really in is empathy, and what’s really required is a systemic effort to drive social change by stepping outside ourselves. See for yourself — and see what you […]

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The $10,000 Education?

There’s a lot of excess noise in just about every contemporary debate about public education, which makes it hard for anyone to see clearly what’s happening and what needs to happen in order to pull our institutions of American schooling – from Kindergarten to College – out of the Industrial era and into the modern world.

One thing, however, seems clear at every level: we need to become a lot more efficient in how we spend our money (not to mention a lot smarter in how we use our degree). Which is why I find it interesting that almost no one is talking about what Florida Governor Rick Scott proposed last week.

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