Several years ago, as the director of the Forum for Education & Democracy, I was lucky enough to meet Ted Sizer. A lion in the field, Ted was warm, welcoming, and eager in both theory and practice to create space for a new person like me to join him in his life’s work.
Ted died five years ago today — too young, at 77. In 2011, I edited Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education, to try and honor his work and the impact it had on my thinking. It was a book that stitched together 50 people’s stories of their most powerful learning experiences, and the final one to share was Ted’s.
Courtesy of Annie Murphy Paul. Good stuff for anyone interested in learning more about the brain and the social construction of intelligence (although does it still make sense to use IQ as a yardstick?).
I’ve decided that if I were to pick one person who embodies the ersatz character of contemporary American cultural life, that person would be Oprah Winfrey.
Let me explain.
On a recent weekday morning in Washington D.C., several hundred teenagers hurriedly made their way through their high school’s hallways in a frantic effort to get to class on time.
I know – nothing new there. Except that in this particular school, the hallways had ubiquitous electronic clocks that measured time in bright red numerals down to the second, and these particular students had just three minutes to move from one class to another. “They had five minutes last year,” principal Caroline Hill told me, in between passionate exhortations for her students to keep moving. “And it was a complete waste of time.”
Whenever I want to get a feel for the national mood, I look to Hollywood – and the films it thinks we’ll pay to see. In the post-911 malaise, there was the dystopian world of The Dark Knight. In the era of extended male adolescence, there’s just about anything from Judd Apatow. And now, in the shadow of the Technological Singularity, there are a slew of movies about humankind’s desire to transcend the biological limits of body and brain.
Courtesy of an illuminating new story from NPR. Arts education, anyone?
And if so, are you inspired or disturbed by it? And why?
This weekend’s story in the New York Times about former NFL star Deion Sanders’ struggling charter school lays bare much of what’s wrong with the way Americans think about public education in general, and charter schools in particular.
Imagine if everyone had a chance to discover their unique talent and passion to the same degree that Kelvin Doe did?