ArchiveMay 2020

Applying the Brakes to Testing


No field trips, no senior proms or formal dances, no Kente commencements or graduation ceremonies. Welcome to May 2020, and the world turned upside-down for everyone, and in quite particular ways for students and schools. These rituals and experiences will surely return one day, but for young people on the verge of taking the next steps forward in their lives, the loss is level, and the...

The perils of charismatic Leadership


Note: Recently, a friend introduced me to an article by a prominent social scientist about “leading from the middle,” a style which, she argued, was best suited for the operation of contemporary complex institutions. The term was new to me, but it propelled me back into my own past musings about leadership styles which had, until now, gone nameless. Although my focus was specifically on school...

My Appointment Book


I’m staring at my blue/grey appointment book, sitting forlornly on the computer table. It’s small enough to fit in my shirt pocket. Stamped on the cover in gold letters is the year 2020, just below the place where I’ve attached one of my address labels. In normal times, I’m terrified that it might wander taking with it the road map of my entire work life, so I’m hoping that address label will...

Deferred Maintenance


About a week into self-quarantine, way back in March, I realized that one of my teeth was loose. I could tell from the odd taste in my mouth that something was brewing that was probably undermining that tooth. I knew that although my dentist’s office was closed, there was some provision for emergency service, so I called. One of the dentists on the team returned my call and listened to my...

A fifties education: the college years


Bernie Sanders did not invent the idea of tuition-free college. I, along with generations of fortunate New York City students were its charmed beneficiaries until budget pressures snuffed it out sometime in the 70s. But while it lasted City College and its sister campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens were the gateway to the American mainstream for generations of Jews and other immigrant...

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