Back at the Old Stand!

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We took a month or so at a new address, embedded in my personal business website, but I’m happy to say that Not Your Father’s School has been liberated to return to its old URL (actually two old URLs, as www.notyourfathersschool.org and http://notyourfathersschool.blogspot.com/ both bring you here) and its old format.

This has been a busy eight months, what with 80-some posts on the Education Week blog Independent Schools, Common Perspectives, the launch of a new business, and a new post as Associate Director of the Independent Curriculum Group.
I’ve also been trying to keep up another blog for parents, The Interested Child, which presents ideas that parents and guardians might use to help their children find new interests and areas of engagement in the world; it’s based on our own experience as parents. Along the way I’ve learned quite a bit about website management and given quite a lot of thought to the verities in education.

I still get excited these days about plenty of new ideas. I hear about projects and new ways of applying technology that really enhance learning and don’t just provide self-satisfied pleasure to tech-struck educators. I see schools working hard to focus on students while trying to keep in perspective the tsunamis of dubious change. I go giddy when I hear someone call out the emperor’s new clothes for being insubstantial–like the other day when Gary Stager commented on the ISED-L listserv on too much parent access to their kids’ school LMSs: “I’m concerned … when even progressive schools purchase these systems so that parents can sit at their desks and day-trade their children. Good luck making schools more learner-centered…”

Just so. I find myself drawn lately to a view of education that includes a confident focus on values and on character, ideas that seem pretty old fashioned. I listen to our enthusiastic and often useful conversations on, say, resilience and mindsets and grit, and I want to be sure that we’re talking about the essence of each kid’s character rather than the sum of his or her characteristics. I think we’ve done enough to confuse parents and probably even students about what it means to raise competent, confident children, and I believe it’s time we figured out how to speak in truly holistic terms in an era in which the quantity of experiences seems to matter more than their quality or their effect.

There’s plenty to think about these days, and I hope to do more of my own thinking out loud right here. 

It’s good to be home.

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