You wouldn’t understand. You’re white
Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I don’t understand.

The two people who spoke these words were fourteen, 27 years ago. They were eighth graders at my school in Oakland, California, when the Rodney King verdict came down.

I was going through old documents, yesterday, and saw my article that the Montclarion had published in May of 1992. When I read the article again, I got a small burst of hope. Yes, the racism that has laced our country from its inception is still with us, and yet when I zoom out and look at where we have come since 1992, I see a road, and I see millions of people walking it. Read More…


Weaving Webs of Weavers

by Rick on June 28, 2019

Last week I discovered that I am a weaver in league with hundreds of other weavers all over the world.News of world problems often brings my mind to the continuing sorry state of education in America. How are schools part of the problem? How can school culture be part of the solution? What are the design elements of such schools? How can individuals team up to recreate schools to create a better world?

These questions have been my passion since, at the age of 29, I became principal of a school in Kansas City, Missouri. The school was in trouble—such trouble, in fact, that I was the only person they could find to be its principal. Read More…


“Goodbye, Mr. Rick,”
said five-year-old Iliana on her way out of school
“Goodbye, Iliana.”
“You’re the principal.”“That’s right. I am the principal.”
“You are in charge of everything.”
“That’s right.”
”You can DO anything you want.”
Ah. I get it. This is not the usual pleasantries
communicating mutual affection,
but a serious educational conversation.
“Well, no, Iliana, I can’t do anything I want.
“I have to obey the same rules you do.
“I have to respect everyone.
“I have to be kind all the time.”
“Yeah, Mr. Rick, you have to follow the rules on the play structure.”
“Right,” I said and paused. Read More…


Adolescence Is Hard

by Rick on May 28, 2019

The path is never straight,
and the parenting is rarely easy.

Susan (19) hates Columbia.
Wants to drop out,
Considered suicide.
Hates therapy
and her therapist.
Her mother says:
“She’s always had trouble making friends.
“As a baby, she could not be consoled.
“She would stop crying, when I put her down!”

But last week everything changed.
Susan texted: “Camp is where I’m my best self.”
Text#2: “They put me in charge of the new recruits.”
Text#3: “Decided to stay at Columbia,”

Adolescence is hard;
the path is never straight,
and it’s never in our hands.

As Robert Sapolski says in
Dude, Where is My Fontal Lobe?: Read More…


Seventheen-month-old Zoe begins her life as an artist. Zoe’s mother gave her a box of colored chalk, and took her into the back yard. Talking all the while, her mother showed her how to make an apple on one of the flagstones in the walk, which went all the way through the back yard. Zoe needed no encouragement. With a will, she immediately started to color the flagstones, and by the time of this video, it seems she has a vision for her new canvas.
Turn up the volume. Can you make out what she says when she runs into her first challenge?

Being a parent! Read More…