Dec 22

The Death of Horatio Alger

Paul Krugman writes in this week’s Nation about how even Business Week is reporting that fewer and fewer people are doing better than their parents did. Krugman really does an amazing job of writing about how the Bush Administration policies are doing away with the Horatio Alger dream of social mobility in favor of creating a caste system.

Krugman, especially in the Nation, writes in an inflammatory style, but he also is raising really important points. Bush’s vision of this country is different than most people’s views. This is not a man who is interested in the American Dream. Everything he’s done – from his economic policies to the bidding process on the Iraqi contracts to his non-policies on CEO white-collar crime – suggests this is a man making sure that he and his continue to amass wealth and power.

Dec 19

Tale of Two Grad School Classes

(or why pedagogy matters…)

This was my last week of classes for grad school. My experiences in my classes have been about as powerful of a contrast as you can imagine. In one class, the professor created the most amazing atmosphere I’ve experienced. It was part personality, part experience, and also part pedagogy. Student ideas were valued. He taught about an ethic of care, and he modeled that for us powerfully. He taught about transparency in the classroom, and his teaching was. He talked about teaching as transforming, and he made us believe that our thoughts could change him in the same ways that his transformed us.

When he finished his closing remarks, the class gave him a standing ovation. We didn’t want the class to end. The most distracting thing about the class for me was that, as the class went on, I found myself getting meta in the class. How was it that he was creating that environment? How did he make a bunch of cynical grad students try to out-do each other in a friendly competition to create something wonderful?

Dec 13

I Hate Losing

Girls basketball dropped a Friday night / Saturday morning series yesterday and today. Friday night, we lost 42-34 to Justice Academy and Saturday, we took a pretty serious beating, 45-25 from Brandeis. Friday’s game, we could have and should have won, but Brandeis just out-played us today. We scored a grand total of five points in the second and third quarters. We just couldn’t find the basket.

What’s so frustrating is that we show moments of really doing exactly what we want to be doing, but, as a young team, we tend to follow them up with mistakes. Our goal is, clearly, work hard, get better as the year goes on, and then do some damage to an unsuspecting team in the playoffs. This is the kind of team that is going to make me prove to myself that I know how to teach basketball. I know this can be a very, very good team. I think I’ve got to convince the girls they can be.

Dec 11

TechLearning Magazine

Technology and Learning Magazine — a web site and print magazine that I’ve long thought was one of the best out there for technology educators — is hopefully running a piece I’ve written about beaconschool.org. I spoke at their conference in NYC recently, and I finally got around to contacting them about Beacon’s web site being one of the "School of the Month" sites, and they got back in touch with me wanting an article too. I sent them a piece I wrote a while back as a sort of "is this what you’re looking for?" thing, and the director thought that was exactly what she was looking for.

So I just updated it to talk about some of the additions — like blogging — we’re doing this year, and I must say, I’m really excited about it. It’s rather cool when a publication that you think is really top-notch thinks you’re pretty cool too.

Dec 06

Measuring Outcomes

This entry comes from some notes I was writing during my grad class on Ethics in Administration with Professor Sobol. We were talking a piece of writing from lefty-academic Michael Apple about why a national curriculum is a bad idea.

There is so much focus on assessment and measuring outcomes right now in education, and that’s a big problem. Education is a process, not an outcome, and therefore we are really looking at the wrong thing with the entire standards
movement.

Dec 04

The White House Press Corps

Will Richardson has this article about how the press corps allowed themselves to become the public relationship department for the White House. Here’s a quote from Rick McArthur, the publisher of Harper’s, who states:

The remarkable thing about it is the press – the White House press corps anyway, has now turned into…has turned to full time press agency for the President of the United States. The proper thing to do in this case is to refuse the secrecy agreement and say we’re not going to be participants in a photo opportunity, which is merely done to help your re-election campaign, and if that aborts the trip, well, it aborts the trip.

Required reading on a day when Beacon showed Wag the Dog and had someone from FAIR lead a discussion on it afterwards.

Someone remind the press about that silly little idea about "The Fourth Estate" and all… please?