• Charters have 2.6 million students; special education has 6 million students. Now what?

    Today when driving around the bay area in California, I heard a radio news report that got me thinking. California is leading the nation with the number of charter schools--now up to 1000. Nationwide, the report indicated that there are 6000 charter schools, with 2.6 million students. That is viewed as growth by the charter school reformers and hats off to them. But, it left me with a question: anyone who reads about education reforms these days knows of the huge effort toward 'choice,' [...]
  • A very important discussion about charter school expulsions.

    This discussion is long overdue. I urge you to read these articles. Which of these bad things is worse? Expelling students for misbehaving or ignoring the education of their peers by allowing misbehaviors to distract from school learning? We need to discuss this. I side on the side of students who come to school to learn... and the side that suggests we create alternative schools for disruptive students. We need equity for all students. What do you think? Worth reading and [...]
  • Effectiveness of suicide prevention therapy for teens–questioned

    A sad finding--new research shows that therapy for teens who may be 'suicidal' may not be effective. I wish it were otherwise....It got me thinking. What else is being recommended that is not effective? or for which a research basis is weak? While very few recommendations for therapy are a matter of life and death--as is this service--one is left to wonder about the research base for much of what is pushed by folks...
  • Multitasking is in the eye of the beholder. It does not work!

    Happy New Year! Can you believe it's 2013--I, for one, was born way back in the last century. Awesome it really is. There are some stories I've been watching over the years. One is about the generally-held belief that we can multitask. That is, we can do several things at the same time--all well. It's the old joke about walking and chewing gum at the same time. Well, in learning, we can't multitask really. The work we do--the skills we learn--are not as well done as if we were to focus [...]
  • Happy, happy holidays!

    Dear friends, readers, and fellow reformers, As the year winds down, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season--and renewed energy for the new year. We share many blessings--as scary as the news may be and sometimes, the realities out there are. This is the season to celebrate our blessings with whoever we choose--friends, family, neighbors, fellow club members, acquaintances, strangers, those in need, and even those we only know through media. The days start to get longer again. The [...]
  • Our teachers are heroes

    Our teachers are heroes. We saw it in Connecticut last week. We see it every day in our schools. Teachers work for our children--our future--even though they are often disparaged in the media, with its hand wringing and blame games. I hope that this horrible event will allow us to acknowledge the above reality about our teachers and move forward in a far more positive way than we have. It's time to honor our teachers.
  • Mother did not like to read books…

    My mother was not a reader. She was a looker! She observed her world. Once, when asked what book she would recommend to others, her answer was, "the Book of Nature--just look around!" I've thought of that idea often. Of course, mother seemed to assume that she couldn't do both: read books and read life. To me, there is no such conflict, but she lived as if there were. She'd look around, and not down into pages. She'd be the adventuress, and not the armchair adventuress. And her legacy? [...]
  • Babies and toddlers with way too much screen time…

    Here's a really important piece about the fact that little children have way too much screen time. Their noses are in the screens--not outside doing life. It's bad for children. Yet, many parents think it's great and are proud of how well their little ones can push buttons.... Pass this article on--especially at this time of gift giving. Buy blocks instead of IPhones. Give them crayons instead of televisions. A ball instead of...you get the idea. Let children be children, creative in [...]
  • Overheard at Starbucks again….” It’s only if you ask!”

    Several years ago, I was at Starbucks, buying a pound of coffee to take home. I then asked the barista, "Don't I get a free cup of coffee when I buy a bag in bulk?" “It’s only if you ask,” was her reply. I was taken aback. Apparently, the system was set up to create a conversation. (Starbucks' policy seems to have changed. The last few times I've asked I was told that I can only get a free cup of coffee with my purchase if I use a Starbucks card...). Too bad for me, as I don't have one [...]
  • Overheard at the “T” in Boston

    Several years ago, when I took the "T" (Boston's subway system) on a crowded afternoon, I saw the token guy standing near the turn style with a basket. He said, in a rather loud and friendly voice, "If you have exact change, put it in here. Don’t give it to me or I’ll go to jail. I you have exact change, put it in here. Don't give it to me or I'll go to jail. If you have exact change, put it in here......" Wow. What excellent in-service training. His job was to help the public. He [...]