Sunday, September 20, 2009

You can be a mentor.

Visit a school and ask to sit with a class.

Tell students how school is related to your work.

Proceeds from the sale of this booklet support the work of small schools.

Critical thinking: Check out a rumor before passing on something that you heard. “Let’s all boycott one gasoline company and that will force the company to reduce prices.” (Oh, yeah?)

This booklet is a political document. Like Thomas Paine’s Commonsense, this booklet has the potential to spark in the reader a spectrum of emotions and feelings. Take our irritation, annoyance, outrage, and put it to use in a local school or by writing to or visiting a local school board. Let the following words inspire us, move us, impel us to reflect on what our past inaction has done to our schools. What have we left undone, what have we left to the experts (who maintain schools in the same condition as the 1950s)? What action could we take today to move schools toward their higher potential? What schools could we visit to become inspired ( in Philadelphia, High Tech High in San Diego, How can the words of Postman, Hetland, Gardner, Yuzenas, Pink, Reich, Friedman, Fischler (, Littky ( and and others inspire us to change what we can change? Let’s visit and click on “Readings” to find more ways to inspire teachers and school administrators. Here are some samples:

A good education is the next best thing to a pushy mother (Charles Schultz). Learning is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never fear and never dream of regretting (T H White). The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows (Sydney Harris). Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance (Will Durant). I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would be really educated (Al McGuire). The mind is not a vessel that needs filling but wood that needs igniting (Plutarch).

In short, Littky’s work is not a “revolutionary” method. Littky copies what tutors have been doing for millennia --- know the student, shape the curriculum to match the student’s strengths, find experts to train the student, push the child with rigorous material that makes sense to the student.

Why not call Dennis Littky’s office? 401 752-3442. Ask why a “student-centered environment” must be in a small school to achieve the results that we are all seeking.

“Education is everybody’s business.”

Dennis Littky

This booklet is dedicated to the friendly and confident students and teachers at Met Center who gave me a warm welcome when I visited on 30 November 2005. They spent hours answering my questions about their school.

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