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June 24, 2017

Education

How Much Choice Can You Handle?

So. Betsy DeVos will be our new Secretary of Education. Every educator I know is freaked out about the fact and what it portends for public education in this country. Will she use her power to divert public moneys to private and religious schools? (Definitely.) Will she preside over the complete dismantling of the Department

Asking Instead of Knowing

The modern idea of Democracy is rooted in the 18th century European Enlightenment and its belief in reason, rationality, and empirical evidence. The founders believed that if sound arguments were placed in front of people, people could figure out the right course of action. We would read or hear the opposing arguments, laid out cleanly

How Do You Know?

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large. ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1778

Teach the Tensions

Two recent topics of discussion around my house have been the presidential election (obviously) and the challenges of teaching critical thinking (just as obviously, if you know my family). You will perhaps not be shocked to learn that I think the two topics are related. There used to be a saying in politics that if

Connecting the Dots: From the Mission to the Mundane in Schools

At one of Catapult Learning’s recent regional leadership conference, I spent some time with principals and teacher-leaders from our partner schools. We talked about the importance of connecting the dots from the school’s vision and mission to its values, and then all the way down to the daily tasks that each member of the school

Preparing the Ground: What Do Students Need?

“Behold, a sower went forth to sow…” (Matthew 13:3) A couple of months ago, I talked about the parable of the sower and the seeds. You remember the story: a man sows seeds; some of them grow, some of them don’t. The seeds that fall on stone have no topsoil to accept the roots. The

A Man–and a School–For All Seasons

I didn’t intend to be an educator. My parents were both teachers—my father at a law school and my mother in a fifth grade classroom–but it never occurred to me to follow in their footsteps. I was going to be an artist—a playwright, actually. I worked for my university theatre after graduating from college, and

Rewriting History

Okay, NOW I’m pissed off. We should not teach lies in our nation’s history. In Texas 5 million kids will be using new textbooks this fall based on revised curriculum which all but ignore racial segregation, do not mention the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws… and state the American Civil War was caused by “sectionalism,

Five Essential Questions

Sometimes in your journey through life, you encounter writers or artists who speak in a language that feels like it was written just for you. The things they say or show you may be brand new, but those things resonate and reverberate with you, touching something that’s already there. They wake up something inside you

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