The One Without Matthew Perry

matthew perry

A confession: When I received a news alert that the actor Matthew Perry had died, my mind adopted the particular cadence that Perry perfected as Chandler Bing, the character he played for 10 seasons on the NBC sitcom “Friends.” Here is what I thought, “Could this be any sadder?”

Perry, 54, died nearly a year after the publication of “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” an unusually candid memoir of addiction and recovery. As he detailed in that book, he spent many of the best years of his career oblivious, avoidant, numb — conditions that don’t typically encourage great acting. But he was great. And it had seemed reasonable, if rose-colored, to hope that sobriety might make him better, returning him to the nervy, instinctive brilliance of his peak years. That hope is now foreclosed.

Alexis Soloski, NYT

Party Like It’s 1989…

group of people in front of stage

“Every Friday, I like to high-five myself for getting through another week on little more than caffeine, willpower, and inappropriate humor.” —Nanea Hoffman

“It’s a new soundtrack, I could dance to this beat, the lights are so bright, but they never blind me” – Taylor Swift, Welcome to New York, 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

Happy Friday, gang! We made it! I’ve got a few interesting tidbits to share with you this week:


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Creating and Sustaining Change in Public Education

body of water under gray clouds
Photo by Kristoffer Brink Jonsson on Pexels.com

“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”

― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Change is good. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from any number of well-meaning people. Change often means growth and fresh ideas, but it also means the death and destruction of old ideas. And, change often means returning to another time or to other practices that worked.

Or maybe they didn’t. Perhaps we just long for a return to comfort and normalcy.

Regardless, every institution can and does experience change, whether people on the inside of the organization deliberately create change or outside forces create “jolts” in the system and force change (cite p. 330).

Kentucky public education has had two considerable jolts that I’m aware of (and I’m showing my age for one of them): the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990 and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. KERA was a jolt that began as the work of change agents, but that whole COVID thing… we’re still not sure who the change agents were (it was totally the bats), but it was still one heck of a jolt.

I was in high school when KERA became a thing. Along with it came these things called “portfolios” that were going to revolutionize Kentucky schools. Spoiler alert: they didn’t. That failure has more to do with the implementation of change than the idea of change.

What many public schools in Kentucky have been able to do since the days of KERA is to continue pushing for creative solutions to difficult problems. They’ve also continued to make space for change agents in various positions across the state and in local schools. Of course, without effective leaders ready to change the constructed reality within a school, any change efforts will likely fail, and the same cycle of “all this has happened before,” continues as it has so many times in education.

“What’s past is prologue.”

– Shakespeare, The Tempest

After the COVID-19 pandemic (has it ended yet?), I’ve seen more concerted efforts to maintain institutional change here in Kentucky. With many districts instituting graduate profiles, the structures needed to support and maintain change are moving into place.

With the environment ripe for change after the COVID-19 upheaval, small changes in institutional processes are making their way across the state and have the potential to sustain change for the future.

References:

Marion, R., & Gonzales, L. D. (2014). Leadership in education: Organizational theory for the practitioner (Second). Waveland Press.


Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Schooling for Democracy in a Time of Global Crisis

democracy
Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

And away we go…

“I am convinced that people are much better off when their whole city is flourishing than when certain citizens prosper, but the community has gone off course. When a man is doing well for himself, but his country is falling to pieces, he goes to pieces along with it, but a struggling individual has much better hopes if his country is thriving.”

Is that a line from the newest radical left-wing idealist politician?

Nope.

It’s Pericles. In Athens. In 431 BC.

If we choose to believe Thucydides.

Stewart Riddle emphasizes the importance of public institutions in caring, democratic societies, where markets and market relations are subordinate to the public good and the production of a thick democracy. He suggests that economic systems that foster individual wealth accumulation and rampant greed must be replaced with economic systems that foster sustainability and reindustrialization. Investment into people’s livelihoods within their local communities is emphasized, and people should be allowed to engage in meaningful, collaborative work.

Of course, for me, this sounds similar to the work of instituting a graduate profile in schools rather than relying on the tired, outdated, and ineffective measures of standardized testing. Connecting students with authentic learning opportunities, encouraging them to work on hard problems that don’t have simple answers, and contributing to their communities for the benefit of the many and not the few are key to shifting away from the late-stage capitalist disaster we live in now.

Marcus Aurelius said, “What harms the bee, harms the hive,” emphasizing that if we are harming anyone in society, the whole society suffers. This was never more apparent than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as some cried that their individual freedoms were more important than the good of everyone, essentially placing themselves above everyone else.

Connecting students with opportunities to enact real change within the structures of education can only improve our society. Will we still have people who think they are more important than anyone else? Of course.

But maybe we can raise up a generation of action-takers who want what is best for everyone.


Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.