To Measure Success in America’s Schools, Count the Flamingos

As an educator, I can’t think of a more important, elusive, and agonizing question than this doozy: How do you measure success?

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered a new source of inspiration for how we should answer it, by way of a 27,000-acre fish farm at the tip of the Guadalquivir river in Southern Spain.

Continue reading…

Categories: Assessment, Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This is how libraries can be reimagined

Imagine what would happen if this sort of spirit spread throughout the rest of our public schools?

Categories: Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , ,

Comments Off on This is how libraries can be reimagined

This is also who we are

I needed this story. Maybe you need it, too.

This is also who we are. This is how we find one another. This is how we resist.

Categories: Learning


Comments Off on This is also who we are

This is who we are

To think of all that is happening, now, as it has always been happening, in one form or another — the murder of Philando Castile (and too many others to name), the cruelty of Trump, the privilege only some of us can claim, the self-assured blindness of so many of us, the urgent need for all of us to do more work — for others, on ourselves, in service of being healthy.

This is who we are.

And then to see things like this, and to be reminded of the other side of it all:

This is who we are, too.
Categories: Learning


Comments Off on This is who we are

This is what the future of learning will look like

Or at least this is what I think it might look like, and why — and along the way you’ll get references to Horseshoe crabs, the 1960s, and killer robots . . .  so, you know, how could you go wrong?

Categories: Democracy, Learning

Tags: , , , ,

1 Comment

How We Must Respond to Trump

Via Goethe:

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate, it is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate, humor, hurt or heal. In every situation it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated and whether a person is humanized or dehumanized. If we treat people as they are we make them worse. If we treat them as they ought to be we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

Categories: Leadership


Comments Off on How We Must Respond to Trump

Donald Trump, Westworld, & the Future of American Democracy

Is the 2016 presidential election the beginning, or the end, of American civic life?

I say it’s both.

Pessimistically, one can say we are witnessing the end of civility, honesty, and empathy, and the beginning of the end of our two-centuries-long experiment in a quasi-functional representative democracy. Yet I believe what this election must provide, no matter who wins on Tuesday, is a wakeup call from our collective somnambulism, and a call to confront the Brave New World we have already begun to enter – a world in which we can disappear into virtual realities of our own imagining, and therefore one in which our ability to be more conscious (of ourselves, our surroundings, and the invisible systems that hold us prisoner) must become the lingua franca of a renewed civic order.

Continue reading…

Categories: Democracy, Leadership, News of the Weird, Organizational Change

Tags: , , , , ,

1 Comment

What is education for?

Always a good question to ask (and ask again), and I like the way environmental educator David Orr answers it for the 1990 graduating class of Arkansas College. See for yourself, and then ask yourself, how might we reimagine our own modern educational systems to engender this sort of awareness in every subsequent generation of young people?

Continue reading…

Categories: Democracy, Learning


Comments Off on What is education for?

Skin of the earth

I woke up this morning to the picture of dead bodies in Nice.

I woke up to a heartfelt plea by a former student, laying bare her pain and asking those that love her to surround her and lift her up.

I woke from a dream in which I had discovered a forgotten wing of my own house, its uncharted possibilities a symbol of my own heartbreak, my own persistent sense of hope.

So it felt appropriate that my work today was to reveal three prototypes of a “Storytelling Barn” – a place where folks from different backgrounds can come together to break (or make) bread, share stories, and make unusual connections that might spark new ideas.

Continue reading…

Categories: Learning

Tags: , , ,

Comments Off on Skin of the earth

The Brock Turner Case is a reminder of the important work White people have to do

Like a lot of you, I’ve been consumed by the Brock Turner case, and its particularly egregious form of privilege-soaked injustice.

Then again, we’re continually bombarded by stories that make it impossible to ignore the extent to which our society perpetuates different rules for different people, based on nothing more than the color of your skin and/or your proximity to power.

Continue reading…

Categories: Equity

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments Off on The Brock Turner Case is a reminder of the important work White people have to do
  • Read Sam’s Books