A Number of Things

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Election results tend to create the illusion that justice and right have triumphed and that we the voters finally got a certain politician’s number, significant information — precise or useful knowledge — especially of his weaknesses which led to his downfall.

Alas, in all probability, it’s the politicians who have done a number on us, an old theatrical expression (c.1908) for “acting with surprising or devastating effect.” Done on the stage, it left the audience pleasantly surprised. At the polls, it left the electorate fooled and taken advantage of by sleazy political ads, paid for by even sleazier PACs.

And what number, you ask is appropriate? Six will do nicely. What these successful pols have often done is deep six the evidence of their wrongdoing, destroying or hiding any embarrassing or incriminating material—a form of political cover-up, deriving from an old nautical expression for burial at sea, regulations requiring that the water at the burial site be at least six fathoms or 36 feet.

Six feet under also has long been the requirement of most states for depth of a land grave, traditionally the same length as the coffin, making the term synonymous with death.

We don’t always need hard evidence however to bury bad politicians at the polls. Our sixth sense (19thC.) enables us know them for what they are. It’s intuitive as opposed to the physical senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, the alternatives are often the same. Since the early 19th century, it’s been. six of one, half dozen of the other. Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke…Name your poison.

Today’s Word: Polygon

New York Times Crossword, Word Origins (04/29/2015):

What’s the angle in today’s crossword?  It’s the Greek gonia, “angle.” Just find the right Greek word for the number of sides; Latinize it; add an –a– if necessary and tack on the gon. Voilà! You now have your pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon etc. It’s also at the base of your triangle and inherent in your diagonal (dia, ‘through’), the line passing through from angle to angle.

If you loved this crossword, which I did not, you might consider getting down on your knees and thanking the constructor. The Indo-European root for the Greek gonia and English ‘knee’ is genu, ‘angle.’ In the Germanic languages, the g(e)n became kn as in the German knie, ‘knee,’ knien ‘kneel’ and English knee, the joint forming an angle in the middle part of the leg and ‘kneel,’ ‘to rest on bended knees.’ In Lat Latin, genu was combined with the verb flectere, ‘to bend,’ producing genuflecter, ‘to bend the knee’ or ‘kneel in worship;’ hence ‘genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!’—as those old enough to remember Tom Lehrer might have encouraged us.

Thanks to Edward Pinkerton for the research on this.

Today’s Word: Roid as in “roid rage”

The “roid” is primarily an anabolic steroid whose use can lead to increased irritability and aggression and easily punned into a variation of “road rage.” “Roid rage” is also the name of a popular video game. The “roid” by itself also names a magic elixir in the game “World of Warfare” and a graffiti and street artist.

The suffix “oid” derives from the Latin oides and the Greek eides, meaning “like” or “resembling.” Steroids are “like” the sterols produced in the adrenal cortex. Stewroids are the steroids which Stewie from Family Guy begins taking after he is beaten up by a baby girl, and Chris begins dating one of the most popular girls in the school.

Other examples of oid usage include asteroid (like a star), spheroid (like a sphere) and android (like a man), from the Greek andro, “human.” An android is an automaton mimicking a man as in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” a science fiction novel by Philip Dick and the basis of the 1982 film Blade Runner. Android is also an operating system from Google, making “roid rage” the dissatisfaction expressed with its performance by those who favor an Apple or Windows device.

Hemorrhoids (late 14thC.) sound like they should be part of the same family, but they are not. Its roots are the Greek haimorrhoides. It’s a compound word from haima, “blood” and rhoos, “stream,” from rhein, “to flow,” referring to inflamed or swollen blood vessels in the anal canal. Calling someone a “hemorrhoid” ranks him below an A-hole which at least has some function, whereas a hemorrhoid just gets in the way of your life and causes pain for no reason. Given the difficulty in spelling “hemorrhoid,” however, it might be best to simply refer to such folks as “roids.”

“Roid” joins hemorrhoids in the person of N.Y. Yankee, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) whose use of steroids and sub A-hole personality should earn him the name “A-roid.” Roid rage is what fans should feel towards major league baseball which looked the other way at drug use by its players and made millions in the process.

New York Times Crossword, Word Origins (04/25/2015)

Reflections of an Octogenarian IX: On Educational Leadership — Principles for Principals

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In a recent article in the New York Times, Will Miller argued that if we hope to turn our schools around, we need not only great teachers, but also great principals.

It’s not an unreasonable premise. The school executive plays a significant factor in determining a school’s fate. He sets the tone of the enterprise, determines its priorities; holds its participants to account; and is responsible for the overall energy of the setting.

The title “principal” is, however, a dated concept from our educational past, carrying with it certain connotations and expectations.

Old School

The primary concern of the traditional principal is maintenance of order. He presides over a tightly run no-nonsense organization, committed to the amelioration of conflict. As the chief disciplinarian, he moves swiftly and surely to exorcise any “unreliable” or uncertain elements, ensuring that the rules are properly enforced by his underlings, i.e. the teachers, even if he has to intervene personally in punishing offenders.

He is protector of the status quo, staff, curriculum, and the school’s way of life from the “uneducated” onslaughts of its students, the community, and the media. His actions are informed primarily by political considerations and guided by conventional ethics and what passes as the conventional wisdom.

Though he welcomes the imagery of change and being thought of as forward-looking and progressive, he is fearful and apprehensive of genuine innovation given the unrest and anxiety it brings in its wake. Real change is messy and anarchic and replete with errors. There is no place for error in his school.

As the institution’s most visible figure, he embodies and articulates the conceptual framework of the institution — “L’école, c’est moi” — ” and is, in fact, the one least critical of it. All look to him as that force which will assuage their fears and render them secure. A goodly portion of the energies of the school is spent alternately praising or damning him.

Its public spokesperson, and its focal point, he is the head public relations man for the school. His task is to “sell” the school to the community.

Educational Leader

He is not what is needed today. Agreed that, “We need to figure out how to get more people with the right training and support to take on one of the hardest jobs in America,” as the author argues. But what exactly are the job requirements? What is the job?

The job is to head up a school, but it is not school as it is currently known, but school as it might be — one in which new ideas might be incubated, alternate approaches to life explored, and the conventional wisdom, challenged.

The role of the leader is to initiate and expedite that process, relentlessly questioning existing practices and procedures, paving the way for innovation and change, and supporting and encouraging his staff in those efforts.

The path forward is neither neat nor linear. Much of the terrain is unchartered and marked by trial and error. Negotiating it requires that she learn to live with the impermanence and failure without which true education cannot occur.

Unlike the traditional principal, who engages in PR and “sells” his program to the community, the leader “educates.” Her efforts are directed at not giving her audience what it wants, but what it never knew it wanted. Rather than engaging in a slick sales pitch, she employs rational discourse, explaining and defining the actions of her school and its people to the public. First, last, and always, she is a teacher.

Her primary task is to guarantee the one permanent feature of the school — reason and self-reflection, which she, herself, must embody.

That Certain Something

It is fashionable today to treat education as an impersonal business enterprise whose efforts are dictated by the cult of efficiency. It is in reality a deeply intense and personal process. Dare one even speak the word “love?”

Without love and the accompanying passion, schooling is but another hollow corporate venture, commanding the allegiance of its participants only superficially. There is no joy. And without joy, there is no learning.

The educational leader is a lover of life and people. Her love is unconditional, manifesting itself as respect for her students, accepting them fully for where she finds them as opposed to where she would have them be, supporting them in their striving towards personhood, rather than obsessing on issues of external validation.

But as they say, love is not enough. A school must also have a certain mindfulness about it — a conscious purpose. The leader has to be not only a philosopher queen but a technologist as well, one versed in educational history, and the variety of ways one can learn and the most creative and imaginative ways they might be deployed.

Rather than recruit and train the right people for an anachronistic position and ask recruits to accommodate to it, we need to reformulate and redefine the job and the context, clearly articulate the values which should shape him/her and inform their actions and then recruit and train based on those same values.

We also need to muster the political will and determination to stand by these leaders, providing them with the moral support and political backing they require. Then and only then will we get the educational leaders we need and deserve.

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Larry Paros is a former high-school math and social-studies teacher. He was at the forefront of educational reform in the 1960s and ’70s, during which time he directed a unique project for talented underprivileged students at Yale and created and directed two urban experimental schools, cited by the U.S. Office of Education as “exemplary” and later replicated at more than 125 sites nationwide.

Today’s Word: Sesame

Sesame seeds (thought to have originated in India or Africa and eternally on a roll in the NY Times crossword) are one of our oldest condiments, dating as far back as 3,000 BC. “Open sesame” is a magical phrase used in the Arabian Nights story “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” to open a secret door to a hidden cave. Some think the phrase simply reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. Others say that it derives from the Arabic simsim, meaning “gate,” the full phrase being iftah ya-simsim, “Open gate!.”

Ali Baba’s own brother did not understand this, and when he couldn’t remember simsim, guessed other foods instead: “Open barley, ” “Open wheat,” and “Open chick-pea.” If you know the phrase as “Open Sez Me”, you’re old enough to know better, taken in by “Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves” (spoken here at 14:39).

New York Times Crossword, Word Origins (04/24/2015)

That’s Edutainment

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Ain’t English great?  It’s right up there with the most creative and flexible of tongues. One factor that distinguishes it from other languages is the scope it offers for creativity through the use of imaginative literary devices.

Charles Dickens gave his characters names which corresponded perfectly with their disposition. Mr. Boythorn in Bleakhouse, for example, is a compound of “boyhood,” referring to his goodness of heart and “thorn,” pointing to his loud and harsh nature.

Lewis Carroll elaborated on the practice and also named it. In Chapter six of “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There,” Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the meaning of the words, “slithy” and “mimsy” in the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky.” “Slithy,” he tells her is “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable.”

He further noted “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”  Packed up indeed!  The portmanteau was, after all, nothing but a “suitcase,” opening up into two parts.

Portmanteau words, in turn, opened a flurry of activity. James Joyce made extensive use of them in his novel “Finnegans Wake.” The practice then entered the public arena when in England of the 1930s – the word bumf gained a certain notoriety.  Nothing complicated about it. Its primary composition was bum fodder, “toilet paper,” whose meaning then quickly expanded to describe official government documents and their worth.

Portmanteau words are the mother’s milk of contemporary culture and social media. Where would we be without beefalo, animatrix, jazzercise, mockumentaries, sitcoms, metrosexuals, and sexperts?

Perhaps you’d like to join me for some brunch, preferably some frankenfood and a frappuccino to discuss things further.

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Larry Paros is a former high-school math and social-studies teacher. He was at the forefront of educational reform in the 1960s and ’70s, during which time he directed a unique project for talented underprivileged students at Yale and created and directed two urban experimental schools, cited by the U.S. Office of Education as “exemplary” and later replicated at more than 125 sites nationwide.

Today’s Word: Jalopy

The word “jalopy” first appeared in print around 1925 as “a cheap, old, or broken down auto.” Its many variations included jalupie, jaloppy, and jalopi. John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle, referred to how “You drive the gillopy.”Some think the word derived from Jalapa, a Mexican town to which many old broken down vehicles were sent for scrap, the same town from which we got our jalapeno peppers.  Life Magazine, in 1937, theorized that the word was the first three syllables of the Italian word for “dilapidated,” delapitado.  No one knows for sure. The theories as to its origin are interesting. Feel free, however, to write them off as just so much ‘junk” etymology.

New York Times Crossword, Word Origins (04/22/2015)

Today’s Word: Eloi

The Eloi are one of two post-human races encountered by the Time Traveller in H.G. Welles “The Time Machine” (1895) in the year AD 802,701.  The other is the Morlocks who unfortunately do not begin or end with a vowel, making them less of a crossword staple than the Eloi. The Eloi are pretty, dumb, wear clothes, eat fruit and do not work. The Morlocks do all the opposite. The Eloi might have their roots in the Bible, from Elohim, Hebrew for “God.” Jesus’ cried out, “Eloi Eloi lema sabachthani?”: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

New York Times Crossword (04/22/2015), Word Origins.

Reflections of an Octogenarian VIII: Charter Schools: Old Pepsi a.k.a. the New Coke

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand; while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” — Albert Einstein

Charter Schools, hailed by many as the savior of our educational system, funded by technocrats and promoted by super-heroes, now find themselves under heavy fire. Even Success Academy in Harlem has come under scrutiny as evidenced by the recent articles in the New York Times.

The charter school movement promised much: To improve the public schools by providing them with competition; to empower parents and students; to expand choice, to respect and respond to individual needs, to free schooling up from its most stifling regulations, to and allow students and faculty to embark on new and exciting ventures.

That was the ideal. The reality is far different. Charter schools, at their heart, are really not radically different than those they hope to replace. They share the same mantra — longer school hours, increased student accountability through higher academic standards, more rigorous promotional requirements and a heavy reliance on standardized testing and assessment mechanisms based on state and national standards.

The only difference between them and their public counterparts is that they want to shift power to the private sector, and replace all the inept teachers with apt ones — those committed to doing the same thing, but only better. It is a concept which someone once likened to aiming to recruiting a team of all-stars, when all-stars are by definition not the norm.

There’s really nothing revolutionary about that.

Educational Philosophy

While they differ widely in their pedagogical views, many of the charters, especially those in urban areas, typically use a hard as nails, no excuses approach. Their overall philosophy emphasizes a strenuous and regimented style which they argue is needed to rapidly close the achievement gap. So what else is new?

Their approach rests on a series of assumptions about the nature of learning and the structure of knowledge from education past: It’s holds that there are absolute truths–a set body of knowledge which can be accumulated bit by bit, subject by subject–honed by precision; and that any knowledge lacking such precision is unacceptable. The goal, accordingly, is that students be precisely right.

Learning how to learn, problem solving, conceptualizing, and analyzing; dealing with complex issues of values, all take a back seat to the accumulation and regurgitation of inert and obsolete data. Wisdom, the intelligent application of knowledge–because it is not quantifiably verifiable–has no place in the scheme of things.

This is further reinforced by the specious belief that it is both feasible and desirable to impose a single way of learning on all, a tenet which runs totally contrary to the new knowledge technology in which individualization and differentiation are fast replacing centralization and standardization. And one which contradicts the self-evident truth that children do not develop at the same pace or in the same way.

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Having decreed that the only knowledge deemed worthy is that which is repetitive and objective, it follows that it can only be measured by culturally shared test procedures. From this comes the clarion call for “higher standards” of measurement and results and accountability in such matters.

Testing

The testing mania is the logical extension of this mentality. What these tests measure is intelligence — the capacity for abstract reasoning and problem solving. In turn, the primary function of our schools is seen as the development of the same intelligence that these tests measure.

Alas, intelligence and intelligence testing, the lodestar of contemporary schooling, is, inherently inequitable. It has no interest in expanding access on a larger scale, traditionally serving instead as an instrument of the ruling meritocracy — a calculating means for sorting winners from losers, for purpose of reinforcing and expanding the influence of those currently in power. By allowing a few select students from the underclass to participate in higher learning, it simply perpetuates the mythology of openness and access.

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Its supporters also tout intelligence as the path to future employment. Studies, however, show that is highly overrated when you consider the relationship between IQ and occupations of high prestige: Even Arthur Jensen, high priest of the IQ, conceded that “Intelligence, via education, has its greatest effect in the assorting of individuals into occupational roles. Once they are in these roles, the importance of intelligence is less marked.” In other words, many factors besides intelligence are largely involved in success on the job.

Earlier, Christopher Jencks and his colleagues in their study, On Inequality: A Reassessment of the Effect of Family and Schooling in America, noted that the mastery of cognitive skills is not the primary reason why some are more successful than others as adults. This has been further underscored by Daniel Goleman in his work on emotional intelligence.

This does not mean our schools should ignore intelligence but that they complement it and work strenuously towards identifying and nurturing skills, talents, and mindsets that have more influence on adult success than does IQ.

Such an approach would recognize other forms of human excellence and a more balanced human development and assign priority to creativity and independent thinking; emotional and social intelligence; enhanced self awareness and self-control; better ways in which intellect and emotion might work in tandem; an elevated political and social consciousness; and a greater capacity for working with others.

Educational Racism

This intelligence “bias” in our schools falls most heavily and discriminates most greatly against children of color and of disadvantaged. It is endemic in our public schools.

The curriculum for them often consists of a series of acquisition of skills, through a great reliance on worksheets more than real books, emphasizing rote practice more than the exploration of ideas, and memorization more than thinking. Drill and grill is the overriding leitmotif.

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From his first-hand observation of inner city schools, educator, Jonathan Kozol, describes a mechanical, process for drilling black and Latino children in “obsessively enumerated particles of amputated skill associated with upcoming state exams.”

Adds Kozol: “The children of the suburbs learn to think and to interrogate reality,” while inner-city kids “are trained for nonreflective acquiescence.” At one of the urban schools he visited, a teacher told him, “If there were middle-class white children here, the parents would rebel at this curriculum and stop it cold.”

Many charter schools have simply followed suit and even raised the ante. Enrolling mainly poor and minority students, they emphasize high academic standards, strict disciplinary codes, extended instructional time, and targeted support for low-performing students.

Not all, but many, have policies and styles of teaching calculated to breed compliance. In the process, the children are for the most part stripped of autonomy and any semblance of independence

iPads may have replaced paper workbooks, but the approach is the same. Rote recall is still promoted ahead of real understanding. Individuality, creativity, and the imagination count for little.

The results are devastating. The destruction of the spirit of the young as would be learners and undue stress and anxiety and aberrant behavior resulting from the inordinate pressure under which they have been placed.

Experimentation

When people evaluate charter schools they most often measure them against the same criteria by which they evaluate public schools — better academic outcomes. Schools which are truly experimental, however, should be judged not by their ability to outdo the system at its own game, but by the risks they take, the respect they accord their students, and the new paths to learning they have charted. Their purpose is to play gadfly to the system not to merely refine and reinforce practices which have long failed.

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Through its unholy partnership with high stakes testing, the charter school movement has diverted our attention from the real issues confronting us and discouraged genuine innovation and reform. To paraphrase Einstein, “Charter schools are to experimentation as military music is to music.”

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Larry Paros is a former high-school math and social-studies teacher. He was at the forefront of educational reform in the 1960s and ’70s, during which time he directed a unique project for talented underprivileged students at Yale and created and directed two urban experimental schools, cited by the U.S. Office of Education as “exemplary” and later replicated at more than 125 sites nationwide.

Reflections of an Octogenarian VII: Educational Reform: That Vision Thing…Which Way is Up?

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A new vision for Education does not spring full blown like Athena from the head of Zeus. It originates in the interior of one’s being, but it is grounded in the past.

Fade back to the year 1932. The great Depression is raging. The landscape is dotted with failed businesses; millions are forced into the ranks of the unemployed; and breadlines are everywhere. The very existence of our democracy hangs in the balance. Talk of revolution is everywhere.

Many believe that the dispossessed are about to overthrow the government and take power into their own hands. It is a watershed moment–a time of great truth when we as a nation are forced to come came face to face with our contradictions. Politicians thrash about, frantically searching for “practical” solutions; others look for a moral imperative to guide them through these times.

In academia, George S. Counts, head of the Teachers College of Columbia University, pens his response. It takes the form of a series of lectures incorporated into a slim volume entitled, “Dare the Schools build a new Social Order?” A forceful rebuke and a challenge to the members of the Progressive Education movement, it calls on them to expand their focus on the child by developing a realistic and challenging vision of human destiny and a broader theory of social welfare which might inform and guide the educational process.

School, he argues, has to become not merely the contemplator of our civilization but the leader in its reconstruction. Its task is not to simply reflect existing values, but to generate a vision of society’s potential and enlist students’ loyalties and enthusiasms in its realization. Once articulated, other social and political institutions can then be examined in light of that vision.

As we know, our schools and the educators who led them failed to answer the challenge. Captive of the prevailing political and economic interests, they not only lacked a sense of the moral imperative but also a blueprint on how to begin such a reconstruction as well as the resources to do so.

Fast forward to the 1960’s and yet another defining moment in American history. A war is raging in South East Asia and the struggle for civil rights is taking place at home. Anti-war protests shake the college campuses. Student demonstrations are a commonplace occurrence, from peaceful sit-ins to the seizure and occupation of buildings. Virtually every major campus experiences some disruption.

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Alongside it, a different kind of war is being waged–the War on Poverty–an articulated national commitment to fully address issues of social and economic injustice– to assure every American family of an adequate home, relieve old and poor people of the financial burdens of illness, widen the educational opportunities of poor children, and speed the integration of the Black community into the mainstream of American life.

But the effort is found wanting. Blacks soon lose faith in the country’s intentions. A parallel front opens up in our cities — there are riots in Watts, Harlem, Detroit, and other urban centers. Civil insurrection is fast becoming a fact of everyday life. America is in crisis.

An integral part of that War on Poverty was a series of programs pointed towards improving the education of disadvantaged children. It was a substantial package: everything from Title I and Head Start, to programs intended to broaden access to higher education, including Educational Opportunity Grants, loans to individuals, and a concerted effort to strengthen and expand facilities at traditionally black colleges and universities.

The Upward Bound program was established, as well, providing special pre-college training experiences through joint college-community programs to help kids develop the skills, habits, and attitudes required for success in college.

Edgar Friedenberg, the noted educator and authority on adolescence, considered a number of these programs, which he visited personally, to be among the very best schools he had ever observed. The best were gifted with leadership that both digs and respects underclass youth and “showed that it was possible to cut through the stultifying mass of value-judgments that accumulate in the form of high school records and identify and nurture the creative, often disaffected intelligence underneath.”

They and efforts such as Yale Summer High School are examples of the painful, tedious, and complex task of creating a viable educational setting– many of which also made a conscious effort to seamlessly blend thought, feeling, and action together. Schools that took Counts up on his “dare.”

Our past is replete with such examples, both from the 60’s and the community based alternative educational models of the 1970’s. Many were initially touted as “exciting,” and “progressive,” and “heralding the future.” Some even had intimations of the 3rd wave. But they were always stopped short of coming to fruition. Most have been relegated to the dust-bin of history, or only dim shadows of them remain.

Why did this commitment fall short? Why did these well intentioned efforts fail to adequately address the needs of the disadvantaged? What lessons from these failures can we apply to our current efforts?

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What if we revisited these programs? Examine how their values informed their structure and process. Reflect on how they align with the values we most currently treasure. Let the resultant values then serve as a road-map on how best to proceed.

Let us then roll up our sleeves and dream. What if?… What if we had the opportunity to start anew— to rethink the entire issue of education and schooling from the proverbial square one, drawing freely on that extraordinary repository of knowledge from projects past.

Rather than accepting the existing framework and ethos and expending our energies tailoring our values and our technology to it, begin instead with a clear articulation of our values. Let the values then dictate the process and the structure.

Begin a dialogue in which the most basic assumptions about schooling and education and its relationship to social and political change are freely questioned. Begin with what we want, rather than what is possible.

Imagine that everything is up for grabs. Question all the traditional givens. That includes even the concept of school itself. Perhaps its day has come and gone–a concrete building, age segregated, and organized by grade level; the working definition of a teacher, courses, and grades, the idea of a school year.

As to confronting the social-political reality–it is indeed a daunting prospect. Tackling it head on can easily produce either despondency and despair or a detached and jaundiced cynicism. It, however, need not end there.

Ideal models may have little chance of realization, but so what? Others need to know of them–what we, as a people, at our very best, might achieve; what things might be like if things were right with us and the world. They need to be reminded of the importance of principles–a consistent set of values by which one can lead one’s life; and of goals–having a centerpiece to one’s existence–something to actively strive for and towards. They need to experience, even vicariously, the passion, and the bliss that comes of living one’s life in accord with one’s principles and one’s dreams.

We need to think outside the box. Those boxes are our schools. In education, as in all areas of contemporary life, we need to not just recreate the past or amend the present but to actively shape the future in ways that fire the imagination.

It might be argued that we are seeking heroic persons and exhorting them to a heroic task. So be it. We need to stretch ourselves and welcome that idea. Max Lerner, author and critic, once noted that one of the saddest things that has happened to American Education has been the squeezing out of the heroic.” Adding this necessary dimension is what it’s all about.

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Larry Paros is a former high-school math and social-studies teacher. He was at the forefront of educational reform in the 1960s and ’70s, during which time he directed a unique project for talented underprivileged students at Yale and created and directed two urban experimental schools, cited by the U.S. Office of Education as “exemplary” and later replicated at more than 125 sites nationwide.