Affiliated with the University of California's systemwide
Humanities Research Institute
The MacArthur Foundation
Students in Chicago walk through gang war zones only to arrive at schools starved of music and arts. Parents in Philadelphia watch their children's chances of getting into college minimized because guidance counselors have been laid off. Community members in Miami see how poverty impacts neighborhood kids and want to do something about it. Passionate teachers in New York juggle larger class sizes, the Common Core and new evaluations, without the necessary teaching supports or economic stability. Yet they still work to create great, joyful, engaging environments for their students. For these students, these parents, these community members, these teachers, we must reclaim the promise of public education.On December 9, students, parents, educators, and community members from these and 90 other cities will take part in a National Day of Action under this banner.While Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind were market-driven, top-down policies advanced by corporate interests, large foundations and test-fixated politicians, Reclaiming the Promise is a community-driven movement, focused on investing and doing what works, and spurred on by the people who have been on the receiving end of these bad policies: students, teachers, parents and community members — including business owners, clergy and all those who make our local communities the heart and soul of America.Those closest to the classroom deserve to have their voices heard. If we keep traveling down this path laden with test fixation, budget cuts and privatization, the proud legacy of public education in the United States will fade completely, and with it our children's futures, our thriving economy and our enduring democracy. It's simple: Education is a highway to the middle class. Providing high-quality public education to every child will ensure that students aren't just college-ready but life-ready, prepared to be productive, engaged citizens. And failing to provide such education will only lead to staying where we are, as we saw in the PISA rankings this week.
I have always loved working with my hands. It is only now, after five years of farming that I realize I chose to farm as a way to work with my hands every day. It started in San Francisco, where I worked as an apprentice at Little City Gardens and quickly fell in love with the meditative repetition of working the soil, planting, weeding, repeating. I also fell in love with doing work with a purpose, nourishing others and myself. After eight years in San Francisco, I left to work on rural farms in Oregon and abroad. Those experiences inspired me to make my way as a farmer. After a yearlong apprenticeship at Zenger Farm in Portland, Oregon, I jumped at the chance to start an urban farm with another apprentice, Justin Davidson. When we first visited the potential site at Candy Lane Elementary in Milwaukie, we found three-quarters of an acre of the schoolyard that had already been cultivated by farmers, along with a high-tunnel, greenhouse, a shed, and 33 raised beds. It was too good to be true! As we started formulating our vision, it became clear that this could be so much more than an urban farm. We could market the produce we grow back to the school cafeteria—building upon the farm-to-institution movement—and we could educate the school children about where food comes from and how to grow it, increasing their positive attitudes about fruits and vegetables and their likelihood of making healthy eating choices. Obesity rates are at all-time high and yet kids are going hungry; there’s never been a greater need for an organization that can provide fresh produce to kids and encourage them to think positively about fruits and vegetables. A land-use agreement was signed that gave us free use of the land and water in exchange for educational services. And that’s how Schoolyard Farms was born in the early months of 2012. Our vision for Schoolyard Farms was, and still is, to build farms on every schoolyard that can feed their cafeterias. Unlike Edible Schoolyard and FoodCorps—two admirable organizations that help schools build and maintain school gardens with the support of grant funding and donations—Schoolyard Farms is using a social enterprise model.
Earlier this year, an undergraduate emailed me a great question: If I knew then what I know now, would I still join Teach For America? And, last summer, after Chicago educator Katie Osgood asked new TFA corps members to quit, a corps member asked me the same question.Indeed, Fordham Professor Mark Naison may have started a trend when he penned this piece about why TFA can't recruit in his classes. Now we've come to another TFA recruitment season, and several provocative stances regarding TFA have recently been made. In the Harvard Crimson, student Sandra Korn urged her classmates not to join—the Crimson’s editorial board responded with this defense of TFA—and Catherine Michna, a fellow TFA alumnus and academic, also recently wrote about why she will not write recommendation letters for students applying to the organization.As someone who knows that nuance matters, I hesitate to tell students not to join TFA, though I agree with most of Michna's and Korn’s critiques of TFA and recognize that Naison and Osgood continuously raise valid concerns. Though I find it highly problematic, I also agree with the Harvard Crimson editorial board in this statement: "Teach For America is valuable because it provides at least a temporary solution to America's educational problems." However, those Harvard students couldn't be more factually right and morally wrong.I am a foundations of education professor and urban education scholar. I guide graduate students through interrogating what lies beneath what we see in schools. I also live in Philadelphia. Korn wrote, "We should all have questions about how much we can actually help to fix structural problems with just a month of training and a few years of work." If ever there was a school district with "structural problems," Philadelphia's is one. Our public school system has been decimated in the last 12 years and devastated in 2013. Last June, more than 20 of Philadelphia's public schools were closed and almost 4,000 school district educators and support staff were laid off.
Despite the fact that computer science degree holders earn some of the highest salaries, and 1.4 million computing jobs are predicted by 2020, a mere 5 percent of American students have the chance to learn how to code in a K-12 school. Sign your name to Code.org's petition, and say that you believe every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.
This past summer, I went on an epic train journey across America in the inspired company of 24 pioneering millennials who, with the help of the GOOD community and about 1,000 individuals, had crowdfunded their way on board with innovative projects focused on some our nation’s greatest challenges. Our inaugural journey was an example of what can happen when diverse groups of people come together to support the aspirations of one generation. It was the first in a series of journeys run by our Millennial Trains Project, the next of which will venture from Los Angeles to Miami in March 2014.To paraphrase one of our on-train mentors: the point of traveling within these United States is not to see things as they are, but to see them as they could be – as we might yet make them.From big data to reproductive health, poetry, energy innovation, and food waste, the projects on board our inaugural journey explored big ideas at the local level in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. Armed with imagination in one hand and curiosity in the other, they tested their ideas on a national scale and came away emboldened to more powerfully lead, serve, design, and create for the common good.We collected stories.Catherine Meyer explored her Arab ancestry through a photographic essay: "As a Millennial whose coming of age coincided with 9/11, a war in Iraq and an Arab Spring; I quickly realized that most Americans’ perceptions of Arab culture were not formed with the Steve Jobs or the Khalil Gibrans of the world in mind. My contemporaries were defining Arab culture by the political turmoil of the Middle East rather than by the people who live in it. On the Millennial Trains Project, I set out to meet Arab Americans in cities across the US to contribute a new storyline where the community’s values, hopes and experiences could take center stage."We answered questions.Sean Kolodziej was put in an unexpected situation: "Not many internships for college students list 'travel across the U.
Brilliant photographic series entitled “40 Weeks and a Mirror” by Buenos Aires-based photographer Sophie Starzenski. A shot every month to documenting the changes in these nine months of pregnancy leading to the birth.
Designed Good has a new bunch of Changemakers to celebrate in the final weeks of 2013. These young entrepreneurs are exploring the globe to find solutions to word problems from clean water to education.
What does it take to transform a middle-aged publishing executive from the suburbs into a fire-breathing fighter for public schools and an outspoken opponent of Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and assorted other billionaires, politicians and "visionaries" pushing for "school reform?"The taser-like shock of experiencing "school reform" firsthand.I saw scores of school children—the poorest and most needy—victimized by educational malpractice that passes for progress. I found lies, cheating and a widespread, organized assault on American public education that is very real, and very terrifying. I am fighting back.For me, that was the lightning bolt of conversion and the impetus to write Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education.I left a job as a top editorial executive at a major publishing company to "give back" by teaching English in a South Bronx public school. I wanted to help provide underserved kids the kind of educational experience I’d known growing up. My teachers presented us with a passion for learning and passion for the greatness and potential of America. I hoped I could do the same.So I went to grad school, found a teaching job and—though my colleagues at the school felt the same about helping kids—discovered that today's school system wants something completely different.Now, education is about efficiency and making "student achievement" totally quantifiable. The result is a system that substitutes test prep for learning, and provides a stripped-down educational experience that’s meant to produce test scores and other data rather than the promised "college and career readiness."I discovered that what passes for "academics" are really just drilling and test practice. Class time has become test-prep time so that reformers can "prove" through rising test scores and other data that treating education (and children) like a business gets results.The trouble is, most of the data is bogus, meaningless or simply made up.Like many teachers today, I had to record reams of data.
nfographic: The Selfie Syndrome – How Social Media Is Making Us Narcissistic
Website BestComputerScienceSchools.net has recently published an infographic titled “Selfie Syndrome – How Social Media is Making Us Narcissistic”.
This infographic outlines the ways in which our current social media culture and habits indicate a narcissistic pattern where everything you do has a self-fulfilling purpose.
View the infographic below:
Are you ready to enter the 36 Chambers of teaching? Educator Jose Vilson breaks down why the Wu-Tang clan holds keys to greatness in the classroom. "If we can reach our students on their level," says Vilson "we have the opportunity to make our pedagogy relevant to some of our harder-to-reach students of all backgrounds." Vilson notes that "group member ODB would say, 'Wu-Tang is for the children.' But really, says Vilson, "Wu-Tang is also for the adults."
’Tis the season for presents and shopping, for giving back, for being generous. Now more than ever, you can do all of those things at the same time.
We know we’re not the only ones trying to make an impact on the world. There are enough worthy causes out there to fill, well, a gift guide. It’s never been easier to get someone the perfect present while supporting a cause.
So we’re showcasing companies and products that are doing good, in the hopes that it will inspire you to give better. The Gifts for Good guide is your key to guilt-free giving.
"Look into my eyes. Do you see it now? I am change."
2013 marked the second official year of the UN Day of the Girl (celebrated on October 11th). These past few days, I've been spending a lot of my time working with the Girl Rising Pakistan team to bring the internationally acclaimed film to Pakistan. I am extremely excited and proud to be a part of this movement as it signals a paradigm shift in the international movement for women and girl's and gives a voice to untold stories of courage. It is an inspirational film about 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, displaying a show of strength and resilience in the face of all odds, empowered by education fearlessly ready to change the world.
If you want to host a screening of the film in your city, check out the screening toolkit and join the movement!
Watch the trailer of the Emerging Women of Burma documentary part of the We women foundation campaign to raise awareness & seek new financial support for the pivotal issues women currently face in Burma.
Many women in Burma feel impassioned and motivated to take part in the struggle to gain human rights for their people, however, they feel that without education they are pushed back into traditional roles that do not allow them the freedom and mobility to contribute. Young women often describe education as an opportunity to better position themselves to promote equality. The full documentary follows a group of seven courageous and determined women who, at risk to their personal safety and overcoming significant challenges, are doing pioneering work on major social issues within their communities. We need your help to continue to provide educational & professional opportunities for women of Burma. Please donate to our cause: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergingwomenofburma/
CTQ blogger and North Carolina teacher Bill Ferriter shares the effects of recent state legislation: "On the handy-dandy SAS-Value-Added-Super-Scale that ranged from less than 0 to 10, I was a 9.16. The county average for other science teachers was a 3. I should be dancing on the ceiling, shouldn't I? Instead, I'm ashamed."
Click to read more about why.
Photo Credit: Royal Constantine via Flickr
Though the Iraq War has officially ended, the War on Terror trudges on in the Middle East. The toll that any war takes on troops overseas is truly only known by the brave men who put their lives on the line. In an effort to try to document the impact serving in Afghanistan has on a person, photographer Claire Felicie began a project entitled Marked in 2009, after her eldest son had enrolled as a marine. The series, which spans from 2009 to 2010, follows 20 young soldiers on their tour of duty ..
There's a education gap in Boyle Heights, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Of its nearly 100,00 residents, only a third of of those over 25 have a high school diploma and just 5 percent have a four-year degree, a low rate for the county. Working with The California Endowment and artist Will.i.am's i.am.angel Foundation, College Track--a nonprofit that builds education centers in undeserved neighborhoods--is wrapping up its second year in Boyle Heights, serving over 100 students.
In the 2002-2003 school year, there were 41 murders in the neighborhood of Visitacion Valley Middle School. Young students were playing “cops and robbers” with real guns, and many suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2007, the principal instituted a program called “Quiet Time” to teach meditation to every student in the school, with dramatic results. Truancy rate fell by more than 7 percent and suspensions fell by more than 50 percent.
Why is bullying such an on going issue in society today? It's the people who start it but is it not the people who have the capacity to put a stop to it? By watching an act of bullying with the thought of, "i was going to step in if it kept going." you may be too late. This video opened up my eyes in ways no video has done before. Hope it promotes positive change. If you'd like, subscribe for more videos and share this video to help support the campaign and message.
I was educated from elementary school through high school through both Magnet and Vanguard programs in Houston Independent School District’s school system. After listening to This American Life’s recent podcast on housing, and how our access to a good education is in large part, if not all part determined by the neighborhoods in which we live, I reflected on how lucky I was to have two parents working for the school district who navigated opportunities for me beyond what I would have gotten at my zoned school. The point being, I couldn’t help but get chills when I watched this video inspiring students to pursue science, technology, education and math (STEM) education courses where a student so poignantly says, “You don't really know something until you've done it hands on." How true it is. Read more about the video here from a woman I admire for her efforts to move this type of education forward in all of our communities across California, and pass this on to any and every young’un you know.
When considering graduate school, it can often be hard to find where to start when it comes to applying. One of the best ways to start the process is really to talk to both current and past professors about what might be a good fit for you.
Watch some testimonials by University of California doctoral students of their best advice for preparing, applying, and paying for graduate school.
Learn more: http://graduate.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/index.html
In 2012, I had the opportunity to visit an NGO in India that feeds 1.3 million children daily. Their mission is to feed 5 million children daily by 2020. Learn more about this wonderful organization that truly believes in the education and well being of young people.
Growing up in the neighborhoods we've grown up in, we've never had a chance to see how where our food comes from or how it's created, and we've never seen an actual farm. That all changed in the eighth week of the Pathfinder Fellowship. We visited Nestle Corporation and headed to an urban farm, Muir Ranch in Pasadena.We initially thought that Nestle only makes chocolate, but we quickly discovered that they're one of the biggest companies in this world and every year they sell around $1 billion worth of food products—everything from bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, pet food and last but not least candy.When we arrived in at Nestle, we were greeted by Stephen Leach, who is their manager of community relations. He shared with us a bit about how he got to Nestle and offered us some wise advice. "You never know who you meet down the road and before you know it those will be the people that might hire you for your next job in the future," he said. He also shared that you never know when you are being evaluated for a job so it’s important to always act your best and be professional wherever you go, whether its walking to the store or even just going on a lunch break with someone.We then met Erika McNeil, who is a workforce diversity specialist at Nestle. McNeil had a career and business etiquette workshop for us to participate in. We got to learn and practice how to interview, how to be professional, and how to network. We learned that when you're interviewing you have to use what’s called the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, and Result.Next, Bianca Cornello, who is a marketing associate, shared how she got to a big company like Nestle and then told us what it takes to make a new product. We learned that you have to come up with a shape, name, packaging style, a formula, and the factory that will be making the product. Cornello told us that there will be times where you fail but that's just how things are when it comes to products. We also got to see and taste a new product, "Butterfinger Cups" that should be coming out next year.
TreePeople and the U.S. Forest Service are gearing up for our fourth season restoring areas within the Angeles National Forest that were devastated by the historic Station Fire of 2009. This is one of the largest volunteer efforts on National Forest land in the United States, and we need your help supervising and educating thousands of volunteers who will plant 10,000 seedlings in the 2014 season.
Become a leader and join our team as a Forest Restoration Supervisor! Without the work of our volunteer supervisors, we would not only be unable to safely accommodate all the volunteers, but we would be unable to plant with the success that we have over the past planting seasons. We need and depend on the support of trained Restoration Supervisors to help guide and support other volunteers through the planting season.
This post is brought to you by GOOD with support from The California Endowment, Health Happens Here in Schools. Imagine the only drink available to you is from a vending machine. There’s no water fountain to take a sip from or use to fill a bottle for later. While it may be hard to believe, it’s the reality for many students in California where 25 percent of schools don’t offer free, clean water despite federal and state regulations. Without any free, clean drinking water available in schools students are left with few healthy options when they need to quench their thirst. Studies have shown more than 40 percent of children and adolescents are drinking at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day. With increasingly high rates of childhood obesity in the U.S., experts are pointing to sugary beverages as the primary driver. So, it’s no wonder the rocket scientist in the video above feels compelled to invent a portable filtration system to put in children’s lunch bags as a safe alternative to soda. Health happens in schools through a number of ways and it doesn’t take rocket science to find simple, creative solutions to improve the health of our schools. Whether you are a local advocate, community leader, parent, school administrator, food service administrator or principle you have the power to make health happen in your schools and community. Join the PTA, engage your school’s wellness committee, or meet with student groups and access their needs. Let’s change the way we think about health. Together we can start with a simple task like making water more available in schools. Are you working to improve the health of your local school or know of any success stories? Tell us below if you or anyone you know is working hard to bring healthy changes to schools. Find out how The California Endowment is working closely with education leaders, parents, and students throughout California to create positive learning environments where students can thrive. This is the second video in a series of three.