Soft Bigotry of Which Expectations?

It’s early December. I am reading final papers from fall semester and planning new courses for spring. I have been moved by both experiences.

I am moved by the reflections of teachers who love their students. Elementary teachers love their little ones — the imagination, the questions, the sincerity, the innocence. Middle grade teachers love their pre-teens — the struggles, the needs, the cooperative moments and the challenging days. High school teachers love their teenagers — the enthusiasm, the energy, the blossoming potential.

I teach adults. I love my students (who are teachers) for their dedication, strength, and generosity. Many of them have written beautifully about their classroom and school struggles, and I have been deeply moved this week.
Continue reading →

The Power of Purpose

Here is an editorial on the documentary, “Waiting for Superman.”

(Sarcasm alert!) I love all the editorializing. I love “Waiting for Superman.” I love John Stossel’s claim that schools are bad because public education is a monopoly. And I love the belief that chartering, vouchering, magnetizing, marketing, or profiteering will improve public education.

Cut the Crap

The point of my book is that none of this will improve education, if our purposes remain the same. So, let’s cut the crap. Without an inspiring, useful definition of what it means to be educated, education improvement efforts will fail for the same reason they have failed for 60 years — our purposes do not inspire teaching and learning. Continue reading →