Category Archives: Voice

Education Inception

I just watched Christopher Nolan’s remarkable new movie Inception, a futuristic film about a group of people who, through a variety of means, plant a thought so deeply in the mind of one man that it grows naturally and becomes seen as his own. In the opening scene of the movie, protagonist Peter Cobb rhetorically asks the audience: “What’s the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? No. An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea’s taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. A person can cover it up, or ignore it – but it stays there.”

Cobb’s movie-based challenge is not unlike the reality-based one being faced by today’s advocates for public education reform – how to seed an idea so simple and powerful that it can mobilize public opinion, inspire policymakers, and improve the overall learning conditions for children. And yet after reading Michelle Rhee’s two newest efforts to launch her own form of “inception” – an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal and her organization’s inaugural policy agenda – I see further evidence of both her well-intentioned vision for massive educational reform, and her fundamental misunderstanding about the power of ideas.

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

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Building Democratic Learning Communities

On July 28, I participated in a live web discussion about democratic learning communities with Classroom 2.0’s Steve Hargadon. It was an interesting and sometimes chaotic discussion. While Steve was asking me questions, participants from all over the globe were also typing questions and comments in a dialogue box. So please excuse my occasional flightiness […]

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How to Start a Movement

Find out all you need to know (well, maybe not all, but . . .) from this 3 minute video, courtesy of a TED talk by Derek Sivers.

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Categories: Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

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Tribal Leadership, Chicago & Organizational Culture

I’m in Chicago this week attending the National Charter Schools Conference, and on the plane this morning I continued reading a book that was recommended to me last week by Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, called Tribal Leadership. It’s a fascinating book to be reading as we prepare to start a completely new school. And as someone […]

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Categories: Leadership, Starting a School, Voice

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Mr. President: Just Go With the Flow

A day after Landon Donovan’s dramatic game-winner in the World Cup, I find myself thinking about the unpredictable beauty of soccer — and the work I do in public education — in a different way. Click here to keep reading.

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Democracy in the Workplace

I’m in Las Vegas this week, attending Worldblu’s 2010 conference, at which Worldblu CEO Traci Fenton will honor the world’s most democratic workplaces. It’s an eclectic group of people and industries, and although there will be a few other educators at the event, it’s primarily an opportunity to learn what some forward-thinking folks in the […]

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Name the Book Competition — We May Have a Winner!

First off, thanks are in order to everyone who has weighed in — either here or on Facebook — to offer such useful feedback on our ongoing search for a title to the forthcoming book of 50 learning stories. Yesterday, I had a long meeting with the publisher’s marketing folks, and when I explained to […]

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Categories: Book Projects, Democracy, Learning, Voice

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To What Do We Owe Our Fidelity?

Today was one of those magical work days — not so much because it was chaotic and crowded (it was), but because it was jam packed with interesting people and conversations. It began with University of Gloucestershire professor Philip Woods (an expert on democratic leadership and school governance); it ended with the fabulous Traci Fenton […]

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A New Vision for School Reform: Where are the Students?

My good friend Terry Pickeral just posted a new blog entry that’s worth a read. I still can’t believe we need to make this point at all, but we do. Check out what Terry had to say, and let him know what you think.

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Arne Duncan’s Learning Story

Check out the first in our ongoing series with the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss, who will post a different person’s learning story every week between now and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act. Have a story of your own to share? Visit rethinklearningnow.com and tell us who helped you use your mind well.

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