Category Archives: Organizational Change

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

Discipline in schools moves toward peacemaking

The first time he got in trouble, 7-year-old “Z” kicked his teacher — getting him into more trouble.

A few months later, shortly after his grandfather passed away, he kicked his teacher again.

In many schools across the country, where zero tolerance policies allow little wiggle room for understanding why a child may be misbehaving, Z would have been suspended, expelled, or even arrested.

Continue reading…

Categories: Equity, Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a comment

A Year of Wonder: What is the Future of Higher Ed?

It’s been the no-brainiest of no-brainers for as long as anyone can remember: If you’re a parent, and you have the means to do so, a mark of your commitment to your children is measured by the amount of money you’re able to sock away for their college education.

But what if it’s no longer true?

Continue reading…

Categories: Equity, Organizational Change

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Welcome to the “Era of Expeditioncy”

I spent the first half of this week in Memphis, Tennessee, working with a remarkable local group of educators, parents and developers (yes, developers) who are all dreaming big together as part of Crosstown Concourse, an ambitious effort to redesign a 1.5 million square foot former Sears warehouse into a vertical urban village of residents, retail outlets, non-profits, and — wait for it — an innovative public high school.

Continue reading…

Categories: Design & Space, Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This is the end of education (& the future of learning)

Or, more specifically, this is a video about a conversation of those issues. It features yours truly, but also Jaime Casap, the head of education at Google, and a number of other great educators in both K-12 and higher ed. Check it out, and see what it ignites in your own thinking . . .

Continue reading…

Categories: Democracy, Design & Space, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

This is how you move a school from crisis to calm

St. George’s School in England was a failing school — filled with children who were struggling in their lives and whose school was a reflection of that chaotic state of being. Today, it’s one of the top 2% nationally. If you wonder how such a change could be brought about, take a look at this […]

Continue reading…

Categories: Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

Why We Need to Look Back — and Ahead

There are two different articles in today’s New York Times that I would consider must reading for anyone interested in better understanding who we are, who we have been, and who we may become. The first, “Obama and the Debt,” outlines Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz’s interpretations of the current crisis, and of its Constitutional […]

Continue reading…

Categories: Learning, News of the Weird, Organizational ChangeLeave a comment

The Good, the Bad & The Maybe on Charter Schools

Three recent articles seem to capture the promise and the peril of the charter movement all at once. First, there was my piece exploring the evolving case law that challenges the notion that public charters are indeed, under the law, public schools. Then there was the news from a recent study suggesting that charters are […]

Continue reading…

Categories: First Amendment, Learning, Organizational Change

Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment

What Do You Teach?

Last month, I gave a keynote address at the annual conference of the New Tech Network, and suggested that this seemingly innocuous question is one we might need to think more deeply about, and start to answer differently. The video was just released, so see for yourself:

Continue reading…

Categories: Assessment, Learning, Organizational Change, Teacher Quality

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a comment

(Extra)Ordinary People

There’s an anecdote the Calhoun School’s Steve Nelson likes to share when he speaks to teachers and parents about the purpose of education. “We should think of our children as wildflower seeds in an unmarked package,” he says. “We can’t know what will emerge. All we can do is plant them in fertile soil, give them plenty of water and sunlight, and wait patiently to see the uniqueness of their beauty.”

At a time when too many students are still being planted in highly cultivated gardens – trimmed and pruned to resemble each other closely – it is incumbent upon all of us to stand on the side of the unmarked package. And at a time when we stray further and further from our democratic roots – from Chicago to DC – it is essential we heed the words of Mission Hill founder Deborah Meier, who reminds us that “democracy rests on having respect for the judgment of ordinary people.”

Continue reading…

Categories: Assessment, Learning, Organizational Change, Teacher Quality

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment
  • Read Sam’s Books