Everyone should read this book. Its full title is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and it is exactly that, but it also somehow manages to be both a work of philosophy and a very entertaining read. Harari writes with a clarity and wit rarely seen in academic writing, or any kind of non-fiction. Reading … Continue reading Best History Book Ever: Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
There’s a question I’ve been mulling lately. If the people who say that AI and related technologies are going to put most people out of work, and that a successful human future requires the decoupling of employment from income, are right, what kind of education system best serves the people of that future? I think … Continue reading College and Career Readiness is the Wrong Goal
Amazing holiday travel experiences, followed by extended recovery from jet lag and a nasty cold I picked up, have kept me from blogging for all of January, but now I am well and ready to express my random thoughts again. Most of my thoughts right now are ones of hopeful optimism. It's a new year … Continue reading It’s 2016!
In 1993, when I was a shiny new Harvard grad with no career direction except a fervent desire to help people, I joined Teach For America (TFA). It was a brand new organization then, modeled at least in part after the Peace Corps. The plan was to send smart, idealistic, young people to teach for … Continue reading What Teach For America Could Learn From Peace Corps
I am glad President Obama has admitted that there is too much standardized testing in our public schools. He has produced a "Testing Action Plan" to address this issue. He wants our testing policies to be smarter, and he and his advisors have come up with a set of guiding principles to that end. Every … Continue reading Yes, Mr. President, Tests Must Be “Worth Taking”
Many supposedly highly educated people do not understand data. They use it all the time, rely on it, even revere it to a level that approximates worship, but since they don’t understand it, it becomes merely fuel for confirmation bias. Any study that tells them what they want to hear is “hard data”, and any … Continue reading Data is not a thing.
I love history. I have even made my living as a history teacher, but until I finished high school I thought I hated the whole subject. That was because my history teachers made it incredibly boring. It wasn't entirely their fault. They taught it the same boring way they were taught, which is also the … Continue reading Genealogy Personalizes History
I was asked about a year ago to write a statement of my teaching philosophy. I just came across it, and it still seems pretty accurate, so I thought I would post it here: The most fundamental thing I do in my work with middle school and high school students is help people relearn how … Continue reading Thoughts on a Philosophy of Teaching
There has been renewed press in recent days about the New Orleans Recovery District. Andrea Gabor's opinion piece in the New York Times entitled "The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover" received a lot of attention and a ton of criticism, and so the same old debate continues. It is amazing anyone still thinks … Continue reading New Orleans in the News Again
A new school year is beginning. For many students, here in Los Angeles, it begins today. I feel terrible for them, because very few of them will be receiving the education they deserve. I also feel terrible for us, as a society, because we will not receive the benefits of the contributions these children are … Continue reading Thoughts on the Beginning of Another School Year