Monthly Archives: April 2013

What Happened in DC in 2008 – & Does it Still Matter in 2013?

If a prominent urban school leader told you he couldn’t recall being informed that half his city’s schools may have allowed the gross mistreatment of students to occur, would you believe him? And even if you did, would you still want him in charge of your children?

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Organizational Change

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The Wisdom of Crowds, Untapped

The decision by DC Council Education Committee Chairman David Catania to hire an outside law firm to craft school reform legislation is an awful one, worthy of serious public rebuke – and for two interrelated reasons.

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Organizational Change

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This is what the future of storytelling looks like

Imagine if its insights were more proactively applied to the way we tell stories about teaching and learning?

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Categories: Learning

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This is what a year at a DC high school looks like

Powerful storytelling, and another reminder of the myriad needs our communities — not just our schools — need to be addressing. Watch 180 Days : A Year Inside an American High School Episode 1 on PBS. See more from 180 Days.

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Categories: Learning, Organizational Change

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If you still doubt that the foundation for learning is emotional, not intellectual . . .

. . . you have some more reading to do. You might start with this article written by a public school principal in Maine. You could continue with a short summary of renowned psychologist (and Nobel Prize winner) Dan Kahneman’s research into how the mind actually works. Or if you wanted to consider a drastically different source, you can listen to Lupe Fiasco’s “He Say, She Say,” and read the lyrics (below) to hear one artist’s prescient insight into a larger problem plaguing his (and our) community, and standing in the way of deep, lasting systemic change in our schools.

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Categories: Learning

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Energy or Entropy?

I spent the other morning in my son’s Montessori classroom. It’s a beautiful, old-school room with high ceilings, large windows and plenty of space, which is good because it’s filled each day with twenty-eight 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. No small task.

I’ve been in Montessori classrooms before, yet I was still surprised when the day was never officially called to order. Instead the children took off their shoes, found some work (or not), and began their day in twenty-eight different ways while their two teachers, Ms. Luz and Ms. Allison, surfed in between them to check in and gauge where each child was at on that particular morning – hungry, happy, angry, sleepy.

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Categories: Learning, Organizational Change, Teacher Quality

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This is why we need schools that stir in each of us a “blessed unrest”

According to Martha Graham (and courtesy of my friend Renee Rollieri, whose inspiration from this quote led in part to the founding of the Blue School in New York City): The greatest thing she ever said to me was in 1943 after the opening of Oklahoma!, when I suddenly had unexpected, flamboyant success for a work […]

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Categories: Learning

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What is the proper role of government in public education reform?

I read an interesting Op-Ed about education in today’s Washington Post, in which the author wrote the following: “The proper role of government is to ensure the provision of essential services, not always to provide those services itself.” Leaving aside the author’s particular perspective on K-12 education reform, I’m curious: How many people out there […]

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Categories: Equity, Organizational Change

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The Atlanta Cheating Scandal

There was a good conversation last night on the new prime time MSNBC Chris Hayes show about the Atlanta Cheating scandal. Still waiting to see if the investigation in DC ever gets as extensive as this — and, if it does, to what extent it exposes similar willful ignorance: Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world […]

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Categories: Assessment

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A Part of Us is Dying in Chicago

I can’t reconcile the deep sense of community that filmmakers Amy and Tom Valens have captured in their 10-part video series about a year in the life of a public school in Boston, with the painful public clashes we’re witnessing in Chicago – where 54 of the city’s schools will soon be shuttered.

Indeed, although the nation’s attention is fixed on the historic fight for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court, a part of us is dying in the Windy City – and no one in the mainstream media seems to care.

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Categories: Democracy, Learning, Organizational Change

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