Every writer knows what it means to “kill your darlings.”
Tag Archives: systems change
It may seem crazy to seed an idea that is intended to put you out of business – yet that’s exactly what Dayton Department Stores did back in 1960 with Target. And, the more I think about it, that’s exactly what every school in America should be doing right now.
Think about all the ways in which our brains are already hard-wired to think about “school.”
Desks. Chairs. Tests. Lectures. Lunchrooms. Hall Passes. Freshman (or Sophomore or Junior) years. AP (or Geometry or Spanish) classes. The list is endless.
Of course, all of these things came about in the creation of a model of education that was designed for the Industrial Age, when we were trying to answer a different set of questions:
I spent yesterday attending the Blue School’s fabulous Teaching Innovation conference, where everyone is rightly concerned with how to reimagine education for a changing world.
At a few different points, people spoke about how sad it was that we are working within a system that can’t do the sorts of things we now see are in the best interests of children: personalizing instruction, creating physical spaces that feel less institutional and more welcoming and respectful, and designing learning programs that help young people acquire the skills and dispositions that will be most useful to them as they negotiate their way through a world in which content knowledge is no longer the key to the kingdom — adaptability, compassion, and creativity are.
Tanesha Dixon vividly remembers the first summer she spent as a teacher – as part of a service program in Uganda, just before her senior year at Notre Dame.
This week, the last five traditional neighborhood schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School district were closed – making it the country’s first district made up entirely of charter schools.
That’s a good thing, right?
Is anyone out there watching the final season of Treme, David Simon’s underappreciated series about New Orleans and, by extension, us?
Since its debut in 2010, which followed perhaps too closely on the heels of Simon’s undisputed masterpiece, The Wire, most of the comments about Treme have focused on what it is not.
It’s not thrilling. It’s not suspenseful. It’s not exciting.
It’s true – Treme is not really any of those things. Then again, unlike just about every other drama on television, it’s also not about drugs, or counter-terrorism, or organized crime.
When it comes to reforming America’s schools, is bigger always better?
I’ve been wondering about that question since watching a recent episode of Treme, the HBO series set in post-Katrina New Orleans that chronicles the struggles of a diverse group of residents on the slow path toward rebuilding their beloved city.
In the episode, an aspiring local musician named Davis McAlary raps about changes in the school system:
Four years at Radcliffe, that’s all you know
A desire to do good and a four point oh
You’re here to save us from our plight
You got the answer ’cause you’re rich and white
On a two-year sojourn here to stay
Teach for America all the way
Got no idea what you’re facin’
No clue just who you’re displacin’
Old lady taught fathers, old lady taught sons
Old lady bought books for the little ones
Old lady put in 30 years
Sweat and toil, time and tears
Was that really your sad intention?
Help the state of Louisiana deny her pension?
It’s worth noting that Davis is rich and white himself, and that a friend of his quickly questions Davis’s logic. And yet when one considers the omnipresent discussion these days of “taking ideas to scale,” the core critique deserves some consideration.