Tag Archives: Justice

This is who we are

To think of all that is happening, now, as it has always been happening, in one form or another — the murder of Philando Castile (and too many others to name), the cruelty of Trump, the privilege only some of us can claim, the self-assured blindness of so many of us, the urgent need for all of […]

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Categories: Learning


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Occupy Third Grade?

On a crisp fall morning in the nation’s capital, 3rd grade teacher Rebecca Lebowitz gathered her 29 public school students on their familiar giant multicolored carpet, and reminded them how to make sense of the characters whose worlds they would soon enter during independent reading time.

“What are the four things we want to look for when we meet a new character?” Ms. Lebowitz asked from her chair at the foot of the rug. Several hands shot up before nine-year-old Monica spoke confidently over the steady hum of the classroom’s antiquated radiator. “We want to pay attention to what they do, what they say, how they feel, and what their body language tells us.” “That’s right,” her teacher said cheerily. “When we look for those four things, we have a much better sense of who a person really is.”

As the calendar shifts to the eleventh month of 2011 – a year of near-constant revolution and upheaval, from the Arab Spring to the Wisconsin statehouse to the global effort to Occupy Wall Street – what might the rest of us learn from students like Monica? If, in short, we were as smart as a third-grader, what would we observe about the character of this year’s global protests, and what might we decide to do next?

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Categories: Assessment, Democracy, Learning, Organizational Change

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Justice in the City

A few shots of what it looks like when eight-year-olds come face to face with our nation’s monuments to justice — and briefly contemplate what it means to carry on the tradition.

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Categories: Democracy

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In What Way Justice?

What does it mean to be an American the day after Georgia may have just murdered an innocent man?

Read the first words of the preamble to our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice.”

Read the phrase engraved above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court: “Equal Justice Under Law.”

And read the reaction by the widow of the man Troy Jones was convicted of murdering 22 years ago: “We have laws in this land so that there is not chaos.”

In this year of global upheaval – from Egypt to Wisconsin – what is happening to our capacity to serve as the world’s beacon of freedom and equality? And when did our conception of justice shift so mightily – from securing equal treatment to avoiding chaos?

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Categories: Democracy

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Is a Free Education a Fundamental Right?

Should your zip code determine your access to the American dream? Or is the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee to provide “equal protection” a principle we have silently agreed to uphold in theory – but not in practice?

I’m starting to wonder after reading about Tanya McDowell, the Connecticut mother facing felony charges for lying on her five-year-old son’s registration forms so he could attend a better school. McDowell’s story is painfully reminiscent of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother who made a similar choice earlier this year – and is now a convicted felon.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning

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