A School That Celebrates Mistakes?

Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 in General | No Comments

In most schools “mistakes” are to be avoided like the plague.  They often end up marked in red X’s and end up counting against students.  At the Workshop we will encourage students to make mistakes, as we understand error or failure as central to authentic learning.  Unlike regular school, where the assumption is that teachers […]

Education, Democracy and Efficiency

Posted by on Jul 19, 2011 in General | No Comments

Reading a review of Aerotropolis in the New Yorker I came across this gem: “Democracy Sacrifices Efficiency.” The line was the response of the Chinese ministry to their strategy for flattening villages and relocating ten thousand people to build an airport. No discussion, just do it, this is how things get done.

Three Cups of School Reform Tea

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in General | No Comments

The recent accusations about Greg Mortenson fabricating parts of his bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea” raise interesting questions about school reform.  While we might never know the truth about Mortenson’s stumbling into an Afghan village and being kidnapped by the Taliban, the story that seems to be emerging is that the book was very […]

The Biggest Bully in Schools

Posted by on Apr 26, 2011 in General | No Comments

Bullying in schools is big these days.  As a nation we are struggling with just how much our children are being subjected to derision, coercion and just plain abuse on school buses, online, in classrooms and hallways, and after school.   We have decided to get tough on bullies, to have zero tolerance until we have […]

School Reform as a Forest Fire

Posted by on Apr 19, 2011 in General | No Comments

As a small nonprofit working its tail off to start a school we at the Workshop have had to have our fingers on the political pulse of schooling and school reform in the city, state and nation.  More than once we have grimaced at a misguided political or policy initiative to fix schools, only to […]

How CSAP Works

Posted by on Apr 14, 2011 in General | No Comments

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s nice piece of investigative reporting into violence in Philadelphia Public Schools rightly exposes CSAP-  Comprehensive Student Assistance Process-as not working to address the needs of students.  Interviews with those on the front lines of education- teachers, principals, students and parents- paint a portrait of CSAP as a “fiction,” “imaginary” and a “paper […]

Our Phony Education

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in General | No Comments

In 2008 Jonathan Rowe testfied about the insanity created by the Gross Domestic Product coming to stand in for the economy.  I quote him at length:  “That term “the economy”: what it means, in practice, is the Gross Domestic Product–a big statistical pot that includes all the money spent in a given period of time. If the pot is bigger than it was […]

Education as Boot Camp

Posted by on Feb 20, 2011 in General | No Comments

Most mornings at 5:30 a fitness “boot camp” takes place in the schoolyard across the street from my house.  I am usually up and sometimes take my dog for a walk before the kids wake up.  On our daily wander my dog and I often pause to watch people in various states of fitness and […]

Educational Jeopardy

Posted by on Dec 1, 2010 in General | No Comments

School has become a race.  Students might not be “Racing to the Top” but they are increasingly racing against a clock.  Go into almost any school and watch kids being timed on almost everything as a means to prep them for the almighty standardized tests.  Somewhere along the line speed has gotten mixed up with […]

Preventing the Punkin Chunkin from Going Potemkin Village

Posted by on Nov 30, 2010 in General | No Comments

So maybe it is the Marine in me, but my mind went straight to a Punkin War.  Teams set up positions around  a Pumpkin Patch, supported by Punkin Artillery, with each team trying to drag as many pumpkins as possible back to their base, all the while avoiding getting jacked up by incoming jack-o-lanterns.  I […]