Do you realize that it is distinctly possible for a child to reach the age of 18 without ever having done something upon which someone else depended?

–Uri Bronfenbrenner Speech to Parents and Teachers at Independent Schools in Kansas City, 1975

Tomorrow’s Change Makers Don’t Underestimate Children.

We can force external obedience; but a genuine character is always the outcome of what the child himself wishes at heart to do or be. At a very early age he already shows that he has likes, dislikes, impulses, propensities of his own. In recent years these have received close study; and thanks to the writings of Hall, Barnes, Dewey, Thorndike, Freud and others, we know that, troublesome as these impulses are, they are also our very best allies.

 Michael Vincent O’Shea (1866-1932) wrote this in The Child, His Nature and His Needs in 1924. Almost a hundred years later the message still needs to be heard across America today, and Marilyn Price-Mitchel says it.

Summarizing a mountain of research (over 150 sources) and in depth interviews and conversations with 22 young people aged 18-22, Price-Mitchell’s book, Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship, reports on how naturally young people take to the challenges presented by service learning projects. Read More…

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


True story: Frank had paid the extra 12 dollars to buy one of the first 15 positions on his Southwest flight from Chicago to Oakland. His boarding pass read A10, and consequently he was one of the first people on the plane. He selected an aisle seat six rows back, put his rollerbag in the overhead compartment, put his backpack on his seat, carefully placed his half-empty latte behind it on the seat and went to the back of the plane to use the bathroom.

When he got back, he couldn’t believe his eyes. A woman was sitting in his seat and his backpack and drink were in the middle seat next to it. This was especially surprising since there were still plenty of other isle seats available on the plane. Frank was shocked and furious at this transgression. “Bully!” he said to himself.

What should Frank do? What would you do?


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


“I have a proclamation:
Let today be the last day we joke that we are stupid or crazy. It’s not clever to pretend we hate what we love, and it wasn’t wrong study it.

“Let today be the last day we dismiss our ambitions before we’ve started. Does the world need another artist who’s already given up?

“Let today be the first day we refuse to be embarrassed to be artists. Ironic detachment gets us nowhere….”

2015-05-22 11-10-41 1 on Vimeo






So now you’re a graduate. So, now what? Well, you only have one choice: Get a job and hope your genius will stop bugging you, or get a job and keep pursuing your calling.

Come on, Children…! The day of glory has arrived!


Technorati Tags: , , , ,


What’s the relationship between standardized testing and the aims of education?

Just before spring vacation Alex and Dylan saw me in the hallway outside their classroom. “Mr. Rick, Can we make an appointment to see you?” they asked almost in unison. We settled on two o’clock that afternoon.
Read More…


Groundhog Day for All Educators

by Rick on February 2, 2015

Today is Groundhog Day, but ever since I saw the movie “Groundhog Day,” February 2 is not so much about 6 more weeks of winter as the wonderful gift we have each been given to reinvent ourselves.

We all get comfortable with the way we are, even if the way we are doesn’t work so well for us. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character gets stuck in February 2. Once he realizes he is trapped in himself, he begins to grow, change and transform himself into a much happier person. The spell is finally broken. A must-see for all parents and other educators. One of my top five movies.

The only self we really want to be is our genius-self. All other selves must go.


“No Authority”

by Rick on January 19, 2015

At school at 6:30 this morning I did something that received the response: “No Authority.” That I had done it successfully a hundred times in the past half year didn’t matter. Soon an alarm would go off and all you-know-what would break loose…all because I had “No Authority.” Read More…

{ 1 comment }

Last week, when I complimented a teacher on what a great learning community she has created in her classroom, she said, “It’s the kids. The kids are doing it themselves.”

“I know what you mean, but your leadership caused this,” I countered. Read More…


Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile   –Albert Einstein

Last year, Yasmin climbed to the top of a thirty-foot tower and rang the bell. Her partner Violet got halfway up and stopped. It was hard, and she didn’t want to push on. But Yasmin, her challenge met, didn’t climb back down. Instead she talked to Violet encouraging her to keep going. And Violet did. She started climbing again, climbed up to where Yasmin was waiting for her and rang the bell. The two 10-year-olds came down together. Read More…

Technorati Tags: ,


Three boys appeared in the door of my office, yesterday.

Boy 1: “We’re not in trouble. Our teacher sent us to ask if you could help us work out a problem that came up at recess.”

I excused myself from the finance meeting, Read More…

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Children Want Social Responsibility

by Rick on September 25, 2014

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

–Albert Einstein

Yesterday at 8:26AM, I stepped away from my job of shaking hands and greeting incoming students at the front door of the school to talk to a student in the hallway. When I returned to my post one minute later I found Isabel and Isabella, two fifth-graders, standing where I had been standing, shaking hands, smiling and saying good morning to the students as they came into school. Read More…

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,