Who do we punish? Who do we blame? Or do we have a better option? A state investigation of the Atlanta public schools released last week identified 44 schools and at least 178 teachers and principals that systematically corrected student test answers in order to artificially inflate scores on the state’s mandated competency test. Governor Nathan Deal, according to a report in the July 5 New York Times, accused Atlanta school administrators of sanctioning a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation which led to a...
Sustainability is a global challenge. But in every place around the world, it requires a local response. The particularity of the problems—and also of the solutions—is connected to the culture and circumstances of specific places. Some of the work I’m doing in central Mexico involves coaching ecosocial entrepreneurs and designing learning processes to translate ideas into action to regenerate social and environmental conditions. A few weeks ago, I was part of a learning event that was a collaboration between my nonprofit...
I am rethinking complexity. I used to think that complexity occurs through dynamically changing, unpredictable systems that create the potential for chaos and random behavior, but I’m learning that there’s more to it. Last weekend I spent some time with a couple of good friends. One is a knowledgeable psychotherapist who does some of the hardest work in the world from my perspective. In a town infused with violent gang activity (this city could be anywhere in the U.S.), my friend—who I’ll call her Amy (not her real name...
OK, I'll admit it: I've been following the Casey Anthony trial for the past 32 days on both Court TV and HLN. I don't veg out on the couch all day, eat potato chips, and let the trial proceedings numb my brain, but I have kept the TV on during the trial every so often while I work at my freelance writing, catching snippets of testimony here and there. I've also watched the post-trial day wrap-ups on all the HLN shows—from Jane Velez-Mitchell to Dr. Drew to Nancy Grace. It's a tough case to ignore. As I type this post...
I've followed the emerging rules for higher education by the U.S. Department of Education with interest, but also trepidation. While I'm all for accountability in higher education, my concern is that what can be documented is not always the real learning and growth that a student experiences. This past year I've seen two powerful examples of great college learning that are very different from the norm. My first experience took place earlier this year when I was as visiting professor at the Stetson University in central Florida....
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