At the New Teacher Center conference a few years ago, I watched a master teacher model a great way to introduce students to new material. She projected a single image onto the screen in our conference room — it was Liberty Leading the People — and asked us a single question, over and over again: “What do you see?” Any observation (“I see a strong woman”) would prompt a second question from the instructor (“What’s your evidence?”). It was fun, and illuminating, and after ten minutes, based on nothing more than our own close observations, we were ready to study the French Revolution.
I was reminded of that workshop recently, when I saw someone on Twitter share the following picture:
Imagine if, kissing aside, we were always so present with one another?
Tags: good video
I can’t believe it took as long as it did for me to first hear about Ray Kurziwell’s idea of the Singularity — the moment when humankind and machines merge, forevermore. Then I started to watch those creepy DARPA videos about their latest research, and then I went and saw Spike Jonze’s remarkable film, Her.
If you’re late to the game, you may want to start with this Guardian story about Kurziwell, and about the future of artificial intelligence. You might as well also go see Her. And just to underscore the legitimacy of these seemingly far-fetched stories, consider that Kurziwell is now the director of engineering for Google.
In the span of a few weeks, all of DC seems to be abuzz with the prospect that our elected officials may actually try to ensure greater racial and socioeconomic equity in the city’s public schools — apple carts be damned.
First, there was the Op-Ed two colleagues and I published in the Washington Post, calling for the adoption of controlled-choice policies as part of the city’s current effort to reconsider neighborhood school boundary lines.
The next day, the Department of Education released new guidelines that would allow charter schools to employ weighted lotteries that gave preference to disadvantaged student populations.
Meanwhile, the latest edition of Washington City Paper features a cover story about Roosevelt High School that places the issue of integration and school boundaries squarely in context, by way of a crumbling beauty of a school building that is currently under renovation — and seriously under-enrolled. And listerves like this one are burning up with a mixture of interest, anxiety and vitriol at the idea of such a dramatic departure from the norm (does someone really think I should be tarred and feathered?).
What do you think? Is integration worthy of being prioritized as a policy goal in a city like Washington, DC? If cities have a responsibility to ensure greater equity in their public schools, are there other, better ways to do so? And, in the end, is there any way to strike the right balance between honoring people’s individual choices against a community’s shared sense of values and responsibilities?
Looking forward to hearing people’s ideas and concerns.
There are a lot of smart people in Washington, D.C., and one of them is Evelyn Boyd Simmons.
A longtime D.C. resident, an effective parental advocate, and a firm believer in the unmatched promise of public education, Evelyn has a way of cutting to the quick on complicated, contentious issues. And so it was when in a recent conversation, she summarized the state of affairs in American public education with a clever turn of phrase.
“What people like to call school choice,” she said flatly, “is nothing more than clever marketing. What folks really have is school chance.”
From 2000 to 2010, the white share of the District of Columbia’s population grew from 30.8 percent to38 percent . And from 2000 to 2012, the median household income in the city rose 23.3 percent while the nation saw a 6.6?percent decline, adjusted for inflation. This rapid gentrification provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create racially and socioeconomically integrated public schools. The D.C. Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which is redrawing school boundary lines and feeder patterns, should seize this opportunity.
We might be on to something here, people . . .
Tags: good video
Is anyone out there watching the final season of Treme, David Simon’s underappreciated series about New Orleans and, by extension, us?
Since its debut in 2010, which followed perhaps too closely on the heels of Simon’s undisputed masterpiece, The Wire, most of the comments about Treme have focused on what it is not.
It’s not thrilling. It’s not suspenseful. It’s not exciting.
It’s true – Treme is not really any of those things. Then again, unlike just about every other drama on television, it’s also not about drugs, or counter-terrorism, or organized crime.
Could the behavior of shoppers in New Jersey and sugarcane farmers in India tell us something useful about the challenges our poorest students face? Educator Zac Chase, writing a guest post for my Of, By, For blog at EdWeek, thinks so . . .
Now that DC is taking up the delicate question of whether its boundary lines for neighborhood schools needs revisiting — the first time they’ve done so since 1968 — it’s worth thinking through the issue with them.
This morning, I was part of a public radio conversation that featured DC Deputy Mayor Abigail Smith and local parent activist Evelyn Boyd Simmons. You can hear that 30 minute conversation here. But you might also want to read Mike Petrilli’s 2011 piece about controlled choice, or Rick Kahlenberg’s research into the feasibility of race-neutral admissions policies, or one school’s use of a zip code lottery to ensure an even representation from kids throughout the city it serves.
What other policies or programs are worth looking at?