The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn

Posted on May 11, 2015
The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn

This article originally appeared in Resurgence Magazine: Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line email: “I am not going to Harvard… I am going to plant corn.” Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when she was an undergraduate at […]

Imagine a 3-D World

Posted on Jan 3, 2015
Imagine a 3-D World

On our way to see the latest installment of The Hobbit, I asked my 10-year-old Philip and his two friends, “Don’t you wish that the real world were 3-D just like the movies?” “Yeah!” they said with relish. “That would be so awesome!” The joke was on me, it seemed. A minute later I tried […]

The Deschooling Convivium

Posted on Dec 11, 2007
The Deschooling Convivium

The Deschooling Convivium: Leaders’ Handbook by Charles Eisenstein The Deschooling Convivium is a project dedicated to undoing the habits of the classroom, habits like looking to authority for answers and instructions, following a program determined by someone else, needing to be right, addiction to meaningless praise, conditioning to dull, trivial work to obtain external rewards, […]

A 28-year Lie: The Wrong Lesson

Posted on Apr 24, 2007
A 28-year Lie: The Wrong Lesson

The New York Times reports today that M.I.T. admissions dean Marilee Jones has resigned after admitting she fabricated her educational résumé. Apparently, she did not even have an undergraduate degree. M.I.T. is, according to Chancellor Philip Clay, “taking a big lesson from this experience,” in which it made little effort to check her credentials. Hmm. […]

Confessions of a Hypocrite

Posted on Oct 7, 2006
Confessions of a Hypocrite

For the last four years that I have taught at Penn State University, I have used the first day of class to take an informal poll of my students. “Complete the following sentence,” I say, “using whichever of these four answers comes closest to describing you:” “The reason I am at Penn State is…” A. […]

Grades: A Gun to Your Head

Posted on Oct 7, 2005
Grades: A Gun to Your Head

Sometimes for fun I will suggest to my colleagues, “You know, we should abolish grades at Penn State.” Usually, not imagining that this quixotic suggestion is in earnest, they offer a flip reply, and I’ll leave it at that. When I persist, though, the most common response is something like, “If there were no grades, […]

Don’t Should on US

Posted on May 9, 2005
Don’t Should on US

In class last week I had my Penn State students read a horrifying article on tree death in America, and then polled them on their gut response. The four choices I offered were: A) This is terrible, and I’m inspired to do something about it. B)Yes, this is terrible, and I care, but I’m not […]