September 18, 2014
Learning with others

Christopher Alexander’s remarkable book, The Timeless Way of Building begins  with a trenchant exploration on quality:

To seek the timeless way we must first know the quality without a name.

2. There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.

In learning with others, knowing the quality without a name is important, but not often sought when it comes to education policy.

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September 8, 2014
"If it’s true that the test measured primarily students’ ability to take a test, then, Stroup reasoned to the House Public Education Committee in June 2012, “it is rational game theory strategy to target the 72 percent.” That means more Pearson worksheets and fewer field trips, more multiple-choice literary analysis and fewer book reports, and weeks devoted to practice tests and less classroom time devoted to learning new things. In other words, logic explained exactly what was going on in Texas’ public schools."

Jason Stanford in The Texas Observer. Mute the Messenger

When Dr. Walter Stroup showed that Texas’ standardized testing regime is flawed, the testing company struck back.

September 7, 2014
"Common Core became a symbol for change itself, a magnet for every national anxiety (or conspiracy theory) involving the education system. Stories about the depravities of public education had been popping up in conservative media for years, but now critics had something tangible at which to direct their outrage."

Tim Murphy at Mother Jones. Inside the Mammoth Backlash to Common Core

How a bipartisan education reform effort became the biggest conservative bogeyman since Obamacare.

August 21, 2014
"Learning is an emotional experience, and mentorship is rooted in the intimacy of intellectual exchange. Something important passes between you, something almost sacred."

William Deresiewicz at SlateSpirit Guides

Students crave emotional mentorship from their teachers that their parents can’t give them. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

August 21, 2014
"Education should be an act of liberation."

William Deresiewicz interviewed by Lauren Davis in The Atlantic. The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life

William Deresiewicz explains how an elite education can lead to a cycle of grandiosity and depression. 

August 1, 2014
Write to Right

Ingrid Ricks author of Hippie Boy

Marjie Bowker extrodinary teacher

July 9, 2014
susangaylord.com: Book Arts Tuesday-Bookmaking with Children in Croatia

This is a guest post from Zoran Vidaković, an art teacher in a primary school in Croatia. Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord has been making books with children for many years. She has also put up lots of projects, resources and videos. A Great resource! Here’s  Zoran Vidaković’s blog.

July 8, 2014
"We should be livid that we have continually insisted upon the disposability of poor and working class youth of color. We should be angry that we teach young people that ultimate forms of masculinity value brawns over brains and privilege aggression, brute force, and violence over compassion, communication, and empathy. We should be outraged that schools, in desperate need of resources, realign their curriculum and culture to meet the needs of the security industry, which donates dollars and expertise to schools. We should be furious that we’ve reduced schools to merely churning out disciplined young people who will maintain and extend the US national security state rather than critique and transform these violent relations of power."

Nicole Nguyen in The Feminist Wire. Homeland Security Goes to School

July 8, 2014
"Chuck D famously referred to hip-hop as the CNN of black America, precisely because much of the music that emerged from the culture in the late 1980s detailed with troubling acuity and precision the war zone-like conditions in which black and brown folks lived in the two decades following the out-migration of good factory jobs."

Brittney Cooper at Salon. White supremacy stripped bare: What “Do the Right Thing” tells us 25 years later 

The film the Obamas saw on their first date challenged America’s narrative of progress. It also saw into the future

July 7, 2014
"He illustrates the basic mechanism to schoolchildren by getting them to take a straw and blow into a glass of water. A simple litmus test shows the children how the pH level drops as the carbon dioxide from their breath dissolves in the water. It’s a sign that naturally alkaline water is becoming less so—and it’s what is happening on a global scale as the oceans absorb a significant amount of the carbon dioxide we pump out through the burning of carbon fuels."

Casey Coates Danson at Global Possibilities. The Disaster We’ve Wrought on the World’s Oceans May Be Irrevocable

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