• The Wait

    Something is going on under a blanket of dead leaves and snow when we no longer expect anything. The false sense of fulness is being done away with, done to death by the cold hard season. Sorrow’s flower is in full, ice-crystal-fringed blossom. Perhaps it is not so much barren as bare. Spare.

  • Smoke as Motif

    Was there, in all this tension, in the clenched, interwoven fingers of Cezanne’s motif, an expectation of inevitable release? An anticipation of relief? Like the relief that comes with clarity, even a terrible clarity. As I left, that impassive painting looked to me like the face of an aging dam. 

  • On Qualitative vs. Quantitative Assessment

    Numbers are not more real than words. On the contrary, the idea that a number like 82.3% could serve as a summary of student performance is the real problem. It cannot. What a student has learned is demonstrated in the skills, knowledge, understanding, and habits of mind he has acquired. Those skills are best understood linguistically, not numerically.

  • Save the Snow Day!

    As important as the joy of a snow day is in and of itself, there are even deeper educational issues at stake in the snow day debate. It raises questions as to what counts as ‘education,’ how school and ordinary life ought to be integrated, and what the student brings to the table in that endeavor. The question of whether a snow day is no more than a ‘wasted opportunity for learning’ is the question of whether a child’s experience in the world outside of the classroom is an essential dimension of education or not.