Category Archives: Organizational Change

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 […]

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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 […]

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Categories: First Amendment, Learning, Organizational Change

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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:

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(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.”

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To Fix Public Education, Let’s Eliminate Private Schools

While hardcore progressives and Tea Party activists continue cozying up to each other in a shared rejection of the Common Core, I have a radical proposal to make – and it might just be crazy enough to garner an equally eclectic coalition of support:

Let’s eliminate private schools altogether. Or, better yet, let’s make every school both public and private.

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Categories: Equity, Learning, Organizational Change

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This is how you turnaround a school

Imagine if all schools showed as much faith in the transformative power of the arts — and of a school committed to developing every aspect of a young person, not just reading and math? Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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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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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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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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