May 21, 2018 -  All over the country (and world) creative, thoughtful educators are engaging learners in real world experiences-  making learning-by-doing possible. Trust teachers; trust the kids:

We’re handing off some complex challenges (and some great opportunities) to young people. How do we get them up to speed on what they’re in for and jump start their contribution?


We think getting children outdoors and immersing youth in extended community-based challenges is the answer. We call it place-based education. It is uniquely well suited to build the confidence and skills young people need to contribute to their community.


What is place-based education? Place-Based Education (PBE) is anytime, anywhere learning that leverages the power of place to personalize learning. PBE is an immersive learning experience that “places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum.” PBE deepens personalized and project-based learning, providing a way to connect these efforts to students’ local community and environment for engaging learning that leads to more engaged citizens.

Get Kids in the Community and Change the World

by Tom Vander Ark | Getting Smart

May 08, 2018 -  Among frequently repeated charges is that charter schools are fundamentally destructive to the concept of public education for all and contributors to even greater segregation in urban settings in particular. A recent very personal story and some New York City background information raise questions that should help with more productive discussions about public policy and how we educate our children.


The backstory: “...a study released last week by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. It found 40 percent of city kindergarten students enrolled in schools outside their residential zones, compared to 28 percent a decade ago. Of the black students, half went to charter schools, Among whites, 29 percent chose charters…”

The personal story:

Upscale parents want to send their kids to Bed-Stuy school

by Sara Dorn and Susan Edelman | New York Post

April 25, 2018 - The stories of how schooling has failed are many, and the recipes for improvement are too often simplistic. The current mania for data points has pushed us into dismal corners on a gloomy and limited playing field - “better scores” vs “fewer tests”. But there isn’t a halfway point between smart and dumb. We ought to be using more dimensions that support and describe and celebrate the real complexities of learning and teaching”.


Well, on second/third/fourth thought, maybe there is one simple metric that ought to be part of any serious conversation we have about ways to improve how we teach the children well. The 1% are willing (and able) to spend $25/$30/$40,000 and more a year to educate their kids, K-16. Maybe they know something the rest of us can learn.


Two articles explore these critical contours of our schooling world:

How Money Matters for Schools


by Bruce D. Baker | Learning Policy Institute

April 11, 2018 - “These two articles make the same observation from very different perspectives - that effective education and school improvement require significant school site decision making. Exactly such particular design, operation and governance autonomy already exists to a large degree in the thousands of public independent charter schools that committed parents, teachers, leaders and community members have created in urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods across the nation."​

To Strengthen Democracy, Invest in Our Public Schools


by Emily Gasoi, Deborah Meier | The American Federation of Teachers