I recently met Barbara Brueggemann and was overtaken with delight. Barbara is the Head of School at George Washington University's Online High School (or GWUOHS), an online, private high school that focuses on delivering an individualized college preparatory program for high school students. An educator with systems thinking strengths and humanistic inspiration, Barbara explained to me and a colleague how the GWUOHS Journey Symposium was a synchronized class that assisted students in the reflective exercises around understanding the...
In 2008, I flew to Beijing, China, at the invitation of a friend who had arranged my hotel accomodations. This particular trip—my first in a series of several business trips to China to work on consulting projects in the year that followed—coincided with China’s National Day, which is celebrated on October 1st. When I arrived in Beijing after the long flight from San Francisco, the hotel refused to honor my reservation. I was told that I was a foreigner and the police had forbidden the hotel to host foreigners during weekend...
I had a sense of déjà vu when I heard that the “protester” was Time magazine’s Person of the Year. I remembered images of the Chicago protesters who arguably denied us the experience of President Hubert Humphrey and my personal memory of the huge protest of the arrest of Black Panthers in New Haven. My role was to pick up Abbie Hoffman in New York and drive him up there for the rally. We had a wonderful talk about the role of symbolic actions and their impact on society (he was a Brandeis University social...
A couple of months ago, I came across an article in my local paper entitled, American “Allergy” to Global Warming, Why?" The article asked why so many Americans remain in denial about climate change when such a great amount of scientific evidence exists that indicates it is our reality. The article reviews some of the scientific evidence and asks why there continues to be little motivation for changing our consumption and production practices that appear to contribute to global warming. The writer notes how the support for and...
An Oklahoma first grader was suspended recently for making a gun gesture with his hand because the gesture violated the school district's zero-tolerance policy against weapons and violence, according to news reports. That's just one in a handful of stories making headlines today. Stories of kids being expelled for having nail clippers or giving a cough drop to another student are refueling the debate about the wisdom of zero-tolerance policies. In 1999, Time magazine referred to the surge in these dogmatic approaches to discipline in...
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