In class last night, we began with small group discussion about the first few chapters of Tinkering Toward Utopia, by David Tyack & Larry Cuban. In these discussions you shared your thoughts on the reasons why some reforms “stick,” while others fade away. If you would like to think more about this topic, and learn more about the work of Larry Cuban, you might enjoy the following video. Dr. Cuban also maintains a thought-provoking blog, which focuses on issues related to ed policy and practice (in particular, check out this post).
After this discussion, Dr. Hatch shared with us some insights from his recent conversation with Eric Schwarz (listen here). Schwarz co-founded Citizen Schools, an after school enrichment program for low-income students, and has just published a book–The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers are Combating the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools— about his experiences.
Finally, we engaged in an activity that gave us the opportunity to think about what is essential in schools. By thinking about what we consider useful, essential, and unnecessary, we began to really wonder about some of the basics of school design and we raised questions such as, “Do schools need books?” “What makes up a curriculum?” “Should all schools have kitchens?”
For next week, please review “Week 4” in the archives section to see the assignment. Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing the readings on e-reserves. As always, send links to any important event or news article that you think is interesting or relevant via Facebook, Twitter, Email, or as a comment below.