Unclear Private Role in Public Education

donorsComplaints about the quality of American public education are seldom absent from our political and historical debates. At issue are two related questions — whether the population is adequately educated to keep America great (defined in various ways) and whether the public schools are providing the ladder for upward social and economic mobility we believe in. Continue reading

Doubting Data and the Debate on Education

Heiwa_elementary_school_18America’s war between the progressives and populists is well into its second century with no resolution in sight.  Despite changes in rhetoric and technology, the basic tension about who can be most trusted to decide what’s best for us — the experts or we voters — shows no sign of abating.

Public education has always been central to the American vision and an important part of this debate.  That’s what inspired the Scopes Monkey Trial and more recent controversies about creationism. And there’s been a endless debate about whether American education is good enough and, if not, what need be done to make it better. Continue reading

Not Taking Sides Yet

IMG_20150623_093431-2I’m just back from a week South of the Border with 12,000 of my closest friends.  Information and Computer Technology (ICT) was the subject of discussion, and may yet democratize the world if anything can. I’m not a real teacher, but gave it a shot some decades ago in high school, and again in recent times at the university level.  I use the Internet all the time, consider it a blessing. I receive many messages each day showing methodologies and techniques which can meet the challenges and impositions of the digital age.

Latin America is full of brilliant and dedicated people, and as a continent it benefits from having a lingua franca (well, two or three) and no state-to-state conflicts. We should take closer note of how they carry on, the complete ease in conversing across borders, the many friendly rivalries which seem to benefit all. Continue reading

Prejudice is a powerful force

obamacharlestonIn the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting and the recent police incidents leading to the death and harassment of black men and women, many are calling for a national conversation on race.

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“A Dealer In Hope”

speakerNapoleon once said that a leader is “a dealer in hope.” If putting heart into people is the touchstone of leadership, then General Colin Powell is one of the outstanding leaders of our time.

I had the chance to observe the General at close range during the three years that I worked for him as his speechwriter. (See the picture of me with the General on the home page of my web side, www.ringingwords.com. I no longer have the beard but I’m still recognizable.) Continue reading