SPEAKING BACK: UPDATE

A quick update on the “Speak Back” effort: A month went by fast, and I will be the first to admit that it has been both a painful and hopeful learning process. A painful process because I am feeling a little less trust in this community. A little less trust that people presume best intentions […]

The Oppressive Schools letter

I said it would be a week before I posted on the Oppressive Schools letter and it’s been longer than that. The honest truth is that I struggled about whether or not to sign my name to it; the back-and-forth in my mind and heart has led to lost sleep and moments of anxiety. It’s […]

Speaking Back

Embed from Getty Images Last Wednesday evening was one of those nights when I was struck by what it means to really be an ally for those who don’t feel they have power or voice. I live in Denver, CO, a wonderful city on many levels. As is the case with many wonderful cities, its […]

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Embed from Getty Images   I took the summer off. Not from thinking, but from writing. Because honestly, who can manage to be disciplined when the kids are out of school? ☺ But welcome back to the Third Rail. Even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and interviewing and […]

Communities of Character – a response

View image | gettyimages.com I was troubled by David Brooks’ column this weekend about communities of character and the schools that he uses as examples of institutions that intentionally focus on building students’ characters. I also had a conversation on Tuesday with someone who used the term “character-driven” to refer to schools like KIPP, Success […]

Education “Reformers” or Reform Fundamentalists?

View image | gettyimages.com Someone asked me exactly who I meant when I used this term, and it’s a fair question.  I intentionally put the phrase in quotes for the purposes of my open letter because it has been used over time by dozens of different groups committed to changing the US education system from […]

An open letter: Opt-out Movement

I have been watching the opt-out movement across the US with fascination.  What I find most remarkable is the reaction of many in the education reform community to the growing chorus of voices pushing back on current reforms.  Many of us have been worried about the direction of reform for years, but it was easy […]

Kids, movement and health

View image | gettyimages.com I was at a Montessori school in New Haven last week and got to spend some time watching primary kids ages 3 years to 5 years in their classroom. Montessori primary classrooms have an area called practical life that is filled with activities like sweeping, washing, cutting, pouring. For the uninitiated […]

Can we be virtually real?

Our family is spending the Christmas and New Year holidays in east Asia this year.  One of my older brothers and his family live in Singapore and we not seen them in over two years.  Given how often they come to the US, it seemed a good time to make the trip over.  As it […]

Do as We Say, Not as We Do

View image | gettyimages.com There is a fascinating trend in policy these days that is related to the “decision-based evidence making” that I wrote about a few months ago.  It appears that Texas, the state where standardized testing beatification began in the late 1980s (thanks to Ross Perot), reversed course.  For better or worse, however, […]

Evidence-based decision-making; or decision-based evidence-making?

I was interviewing a school network leader when we began talking about a funder he had met recently. He was asking the funder to invest in the school model’s expansion and had been turned down, not because the school was not getting good results, but because the funder said he did not believe there was […]