“No matter what a school’s ultimate culture goal, given what we have all been through over the past two years, I would suggest that nurturing a caring culture is job one. This will ensure that as you build toward the future, you are building on a foundation of trust. Some of the middle five groups outlined above can be active participants in this process. Seek them out and engage them in finding that common ground so that you can begin moving from “me” to “we.”
“Nearly all cities in the United States imposed restrictions during the pandemic’s virulent second wave, which peaked in the fall of 1918. That winter, some cities reimposed controls when a third, though less deadly, wave struck. But virtually no city responded in 1920. People were weary of influenza, and so were public officials. Newspapers were filled with frightening news about the virus, but no one cared.”
“The truth is that campus protests, not just in recent years but going back for decades now, bear only a cosmetic resemblance to those of the 1960s. The latter represented a rejection of the authority of adults. They challenged the very legitimacy of the institutions at which they were directed, and which they sought to utterly remake.”
“The office’s research had shown that the university “cannot reliably predict students will do well at MIT unless we consider standardized test results alongside grades, coursework, and other factors.”
“It’s time to give imagination its due as a core cognitive power, epistemic workhorse, therapeutic wellspring and maker of adventures.”
“McLuhan shared with the Boomers a longing for something better than the imperfect version of truth found in the newspapers and on the TV screens of the 1950s and ’60s. An unforeseen consequence is that, 60 years later, we live in a divided society. Rival tribes, sealed in their own bubbles of information and certainty, are today unable to talk to each other. Climate change believers and climate change deniers, pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, Democrats and Republicans all trade insults, abuse, and threats on social media. Each tribe has its own journalism and its own preferred set of narratives. Each rejects the journalism of the other as misinformation, fake news, lies, or hate speech. McLuhan’s search for perfection did not turn out quite the way he envisaged. What grew out of the rubble of the old journalism was not a garden of beautiful flowers, but a tangle of thorny weeds bearing a harvest of bitter fruit.”
“The New Yorker sort of voice—or rather, the New Yorker voice I was using—is one that sounds on top, or ahead, of the material under discussion. It is a voice of intelligent curiosity; it implies that the writer has synthesized a great deal of information; it confidently takes readers by the hand, introduces them to surprising characters, recounts dramatic scenes, and leads them through key ideas and issues. The voice narrates the material in the first-person and describes the researcher conducting the research, encountering people, reacting to situations, thinking thoughts. The voice is smart-sounding. It is an effective voice for a lot of long-form journalism (including many virtuosic monographs), but it was not for the book I was trying to write.”
“True rhymes are marvels; a slant rhyme’s a sin. Or is it vice versa? Let the battle begin.”
“Big data tells us there are very simple things that do make people happy, things that have been around for thousands of years. After reading all the studies on happiness, I concluded that modern happiness research could be summed up in one sentence, a sentence we might jokingly call the data-driven answer to life…”
“School is by its nature one of those middle rings, a place where we intermingle with difference. For many of our families today, school stands alone as the one existing, operative middle ring in their lives. Little wonder, then, that families approach school with intense expectations, along with fears. As much as some may wish that this middle ring institution would reflect more of the like-mindedness of the other two rings in their lives, it is, as Newman reminds us, in the very DNA of school to be a place where there is difference. The fact that our schools have become, particularly over this past year, battlegrounds for the culture wars is a bold reflection of just how few middle ring environments exist in our society today, as well as how unfamiliar we all are with the nature of these places when we enter into them.”
Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.
Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.
– Peter Nilsson