Watch from the Balcony, Lead on the Floor

School administrators spend most of their time on the dance floor, making tactical decisions; putting out fires, dealing with discipline and making sure the buses are running on time. On occasion, administrators have the opportunity to engage in professional learning. This learning is often focused on the ‘balcony view’ of leadership; strategy, rather than tactics. [...]

Yes, Failure IS An Option

We'd be hard pressed to find an innovation that has changed our modern living as much as the light bulb. When Thomas Edison and his employees experimented with methods to bring about an incandescent light, they finally arrived - almost by accident - on using a cardboard filament. After its success, he famously quipped "I [...]

Budget Cuts? Don’t Take It Out On The Teachers – Or The Students

I spent the day today working with professional educators.  This group of experienced teachers gathered to learn more about mentoring those just entering our profession.  Technically, we’re there to participate in the California teacher credentialing program, which requires beginning teachers to partner with experienced support providers. But while I was sitting there, learning about learning-focused [...]

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and the Blight of Rural Schools

“I was one of those kids with a grim future,” author J.D. Vance begins in his book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. “I almost failed out of high school. I nearly gave in to the deep anger and resentment harbored by everyone around me. Today people look at me, [...]

Poverty, Parents, Homework and Kitchen Tables

Poverty is more than just an excuse Policymakers and mainstream education reformers have been chronically unwilling to acknowledge education research and evidence indicating the impact of poverty on school children and the need for social and economic reforms. Yet at the same time they demand attention to and respect for the test data they believe [...]