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John Wooden, Barack Obama & Why Smart People Are Stoopid

This week’s Frank Rich column may not be about education policy, but it might as well be. Writing about the president’s handling of the BP oil spill, Rich believes Obama’s “most conspicuous flaw is his unshakeable confidence in the collective management brilliance of the best and the brightest he selected for his White House team — “his abiding faith in the judgment of experts,” as Joshua Green of The Atlantic has put it. This is the primary issue I have with the leading voices of education reform today. I’ve heard Joel Klein suggest “we know how to do this” — referring to comprehensive education reform — when the truth is all we know how to do is move the needle on student test scores, not transform an apartheid education system that relies on one method of instruction for the poor, and another for the privileged. I’ve heard Michelle Rhee assert that “collaboration and consensus building are quite frankly overrated in my mind.” And I’ve grown weary of the myraid other voices who confidently participate in a groupthinkian rush to the illusory Altar of Certainty, long before we have in place the necessary metrics for a much more finely calibrated understanding

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Is It Really All About the Benjamins?

As both a former teacher and a MBA, I’m struck these days by two things: first, the ubiquity of “business thinking” in today’s education reform strategies; and second, the complete absence of the sort of business thinking we actually need to be heeding. Keep reading here . . .

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Sir Ken Robinson & Creativity

I’m off this morning to spend two days with Sir Ken Robinson and the Kirkpatrick Foundation, which is planning to host a World Creativity Forum this November in Oklahoma City. If you’re unaware of Sir Ken, here’s a video preview, courtesy of a recent TED talk — and his take on why we need to move away from standardized instruction, and more towards personalized learning. http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-05-25

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The Book of Learning Stories — Title Search

I need your help in coming up with the title for the book of learning stories. Whoever submits the winning entry will get a $50 gift card to the bookstore of their choice. Here are the three I have so far: The Learning Book: 50 Powerful Stories of Learning & Teaching — In School & In Life Learning Matters: 50 Powerful Stories of Learning & Teaching — In School & In Life “Dear Mr. Hatfield”: 50 Powerful Stories of Learning & Teaching — In School & In Life Yes? No? Maybe? Something else? Talk to me . . .

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Draft Intro for Book of Learning Stories

For anyone interested in learning a bit more about what the book will look like . . . ——– This is a book of different people’s stories. Some are about teachers who changed their students’ lives. Some describe the moment when a person first discovered how to ask the right questions, or found what they were most passionate about.  Others are about making art, or going on a challenging hike, or studying everything from Morse code to Macbeth to Kung Fu. But all of the stories in this collection are about one central thing – learning, and what it feels like to discover one’s purpose, passion, and capacity for greatness. The 50 stories gathered here, along with hundreds of others, were submitted as part of the Rethink Learning Now campaign, a national grassroots effort to change the tenor of our national conversation about schooling by shifting it from a culture of testing, in which we overvalue basic-skills reading and math scores and undervalue just about everything else, to a culture of learning, in which we restore our collective focus on the core conditions of a powerful learning environment, and work backwards from there to decide how best to evaluate and

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