Category: In Our Schools

Education is crucial in building a democratic society. People make good decisions when they are informed and able to defend their rights. Knowledge is no longer understood as a set of facts that can be transmitted by rote. It has to be discovered—and rediscovered. Our schools are still using an autocratic system that is not conducive to learning how to learn or to self governing.

Who Stole the American Dream

Crushing Middle-Class  Prosperity

The American Dream is of obtaining middle-class prosperity and socio-economic mobility. Hedrick Smith analyzes how it was lost in America.

The American middle class in the 1960s was the largest and most prosperous in the world. Now, the disparity between top and bottom is huge. Even the wealthiest 5% are falling behind the super-rich 1% that controls 2/3 of the nation’s wealth—trillions of dollars. The remaining 99% earn the remaining 1/3. America … Read more “Who Stole the American Dream”

A Biography of Kees Boeke

Cover of Dutch Biography of Kees Boeke

Cover of Dutch Biography of Kees BoekeWell-received biography of Kees Boeke in Dutch by Daniela Hooghiemstra, a noted Dutch Biographer.

Available from Bol.com

Description

De christen-pacifist Kees Boeke (1884- 1966) wordt wel ‘onderwijshervormer’ genoemd maar hij beoogde niet minder dan de stichting van een nieuwe wereld. Toen de poging om die gemeenschap te stichten mislukte, besloot Boeke een school te stichten waar de ‘nieuwe wereld’ van de grond af opgebouwd moest worden. Deze unieke school kreeg na de Tweede Wereldoorlog een … Read more “A Biography of Kees Boeke”

Encouraging Self-Organization

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social Change

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social ChangeIn a workshop I conducted last Sunday, one of the participants asked, “How do you encourage self-organization?” By some miracle, probably related to my being on every mailing list on anything related to sociocracy and governance, I received in my mailbox a link to an article on the  Interaction Institute for Social Change. You guessed it on  Tips for Encouraging Self-Organization by Curtis Ogden.

After some editing and additions, here are some ideas:

Encouraging

Read more “Encouraging Self-Organization”

The California Tenure Case, Part II: Sociocracy in Schools

The California Tenure Case is evidence of just one of the systems failures in education that could be resolved with the use of sociocracy in schools. The adversarial nature of the administrative structure and imposition of standards  in education pits teachers, the school administration, unions, and state and federal governments against each other in a wars that none of them can win. Even the concept of winning ensures that the system will fail.

Conflict weakens … Read more “The California Tenure Case, Part II: Sociocracy in Schools”

The California Tenure Decision, Part 1: Systems Failure

Educational equality is about more than teacher-seniority rules: It is about making the schools that serve poor children more attractive places for the smartest, most ambitious people to spend their careers. To do that, those schools need excellent, stable principals who inspire confidence in great teachers. They need rich curricula that stimulate both adults and children.

Dana Goldstein in the Atlantic, 11 June 2014. Author of The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Read more “The California Tenure Decision, Part 1: Systems Failure”

Outside Experts on the Board of Directors

Image from the Getty Museum of a Council of war from the 19th century.Residential communities customarily do not have board of directors members from outside the organization. Corporations normally do, but they may not be chosen by their ability to balance expertise. Non-profit organizations and independent schools often choose board members based on their ability to raise money or influence government or foundation decision-makers.

Balanced Expertise

Balanced expertise on the board of directors steers the organization from multiple perspectives. Balance can be achieved with experts on larger community … Read more “Outside Experts on the Board of Directors”

If Hospitals Were Run Like Schools

A commentary on an Op-Ed in the New York Times by Joe Nocera, “How to Fix the Schools,” 18 September 2012.

Joe Nocero’s post in the New York Times today points out that the reason the Chicago schools won’t be helped by the teacher’s union strike that began this week is that both the teacher’s union and Rahm Emanuel are both focusing on the wrong issues. He quotes Marc Tucker of the National Center on Read more “If Hospitals Were Run Like Schools”

My Pivotal Consensus Experience

In 1972 with a group of parents forming a cooperative school, predominantly young Yale faculty members who had moved to town to join a new college. We were committed to diversity and having a hard time recruiting people of color and from a different socio-economic class.

We were having an equally hard time finding appropriate space that we could afford. This was long before charter schools so we were funding the whole thing ourselves. We … Read more “My Pivotal Consensus Experience”

How We Decide and Why It Matters

Book Cover for Lehrer's How We DecideA wonderfully readable update on brain research is Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide that looks at how our emotions affect decisions and what the brain tells us about it. Lehrer worked in the lab of Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel, is editor-at-large for Seed Magazine, and  publishes regularly in major magazines and newspapers. He has both the education to interpret brain research and the ability to write about it clearly — welcome ability. And … Read more “How We Decide and Why It Matters”