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Author, Dreamer, Educator: A life in service - NYPD, EMS, disabilities/UDL specialist, tech and innovation leader for education. Co-author of Timeless Learning

The answer to what happened between Derek Chauvin and George Floyd doesn’t begin with police reform. We need to change our basic beliefs about how schools operate, and we need to push the “record” button. (a George Floyd anniversary post)

Cellphone image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.
Cellphone image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.
Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd

The murder of George Floyd didn’t begin in the amorality of Minneapolis police officers. The murder of George Floyd began — if not in the womb of any Black mother — then perhaps in the corridor outside Floyd’s kindergarten classroom. Blaming it on police and the justice system is far too easy.


More important than reimagining police services and funding is stopping the school to prison (and death) pipeline at the start (a George Floyd anniversary post)

This is certainly an unfair observation but, within the county that surrounds the city I live in, or along the interstate highways I typically drive, I have never seen a police officer stopping a pickup truck less than 25-years-old driven by a white male.

Pickup truck without license plates, just “Farm Use” on a cardboard plate
Pickup truck without license plates, just “Farm Use” on a cardboard plate
Good ol’ boys…

This is certainly not a true statement — as I said, it’s an unfair observation drawn from a very unscientific sample — but I note this because I live in a place where 1 out of every 20 pickup trucks driven by white males seems to not have license plates at all, just a piece of…


How you answer this question says a great deal about your views of education and your understanding of research.

I have often asked teachers, especially reading teachers, what they usually see as a trick question… “what letters are not on the keyboard?”

With the most common answer being, “they’re all there.” That answer is, of course, the basis of neurotypical mass instruction, and it has always been a problem for me.

Basic American QWERTY computer keyboard layout
Basic American QWERTY computer keyboard layout
What letters are not on the keyboard?

I first asked this question in 1997 or 1998, when a Special Education teacher asked me about a kid we were both working with. “If I asked him to draw a star could he do that? If I drew a star could he copy it?” “Oh yeah,” I…


That I’ve never known the work of this woman is one more misogynist crime against history.

Ella Flagg Young seated at her desk.
Ella Flagg Young seated at her desk.
Ella Flagg Young

SpeEdChange.Women’s.History.Month

“The names of three children in a reading class are George, Lucy , and Frank . George has just read a paragraph aloud and the teacher has called upon Lucy to read the same. When Lucy reads that paragraph what should be her motive — to express the thought as she understands it, or to surpass George? If we wish to know what that printed page means to her; if we wish her to read so as to describe the mental image constructed by her mind, why say, “Lucy, see if you can read that better than George did?”…


Neither the federal government, nor any of our states, can point to any academic measurement used that says anything of value about our children.

SpeEdChange.at.Medium

“The way we need to measure ourselves as educators,” I have told many, many people, “is by how many choices our children have when they turn 30.”

News: Bill could help students catch up after falling behind due to remote learning
News: Bill could help students catch up after falling behind due to remote learning
North Carolina

When I repeated that to people at MichiganFuture recently, I found myself comparing this measurement — one which at first glance seems both so difficult and out of reach — to those our governments, our graduate schools, and too many of our NGOs use.

But it is fairly straightforward to look at 30-year-olds in America, whether individually, via demographic or geographic groupings, or as a whole and ask, “Can she/he/they choose where…


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

“Cancel Culture” is one of the right wing’s big frauds right now. They claim that doubting the worship of slaveowners, racists, imperialists, and others who chose to diminish other human beings is a bad thing for white people. That is an absolute untruth. Democracies need truths, and democracies need reconciliation, and truth and reconciliation require re-appraisal and the acknowledgment of responsibility for one’s actions — now or then.

But if we want to discuss “cancel culture” with our children we have a real opportunity to explore what real cancellation looks like.

July 9, 1776, left wing mob in New…


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

police officers outside the Capitol on January 6, one holds his head in his hands
police officers outside the Capitol on January 6, one holds his head in his hands
police officers outside the Capitol on January 6

“Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday due to injuries sustained while on-duty, physically engaging with protesters at the US Capitol, a statement said.

“Sicknick, a 12-year veteran of the force, was “responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the US Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters”, Capitol Police said in a statement.” — France24

I am not a big fan of punishment. Punishments rarely prevent ‘recidivism,’ and the threat of punishment rarely discourages the illegal, the immoral, or the inappropriate. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

The school at the center of the NY Times podcast, Nice White Parents
The school at the center of the NY Times podcast, Nice White Parents
IS 293, “Nathan Hale Middle School,” in Brooklyn, NY. The subject of Nice White Parents, the New York Times/Serial Podcast Series.

Exclusionary “Learning Pods” are not just racist, and of course classist, let’s state the obvious, but they are also violence against children, and we must say this.

Broadband access in this nation is racist and classist and an assault on rural children and children everywhere whose parents lack resources. We must say this.

The way schools are funded, including via PTA/PTO fundraising is racist and classist and represents violence against children everywhere whose parents lack resources. We must say this.

The timeline of the series stops at the pandemic. But Ms. Joffe-Walt said the nation’s education system is at…


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

2018 Wisconsin State House of Representatives election results. Republicans get 45% of votes and 63% of seats.
2018 Wisconsin State House of Representatives election results. Republicans get 45% of votes and 63% of seats.
Wisconsin 2018, elections for State House of Representatives. Republicans received under 45% of votes, but won over 63% of seats.

“When the Framers [of the Constitution] used the word [democracy] themselves it was often a pejorative term. On the convention’s first day, delegate Edmund Randolph of Virginia warned that “none of the [state] constitutions have provided sufficient checks against democracy.” A week later, Massachusetts delegate Elbridge Gerry said “the evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.” Father of the Constitution James Madison referred to “the inconvenience of democracy,” and Alexander Hamilton to the “imprudence” of it.” — Eric Black

America likes to perceive itself as a leader in global democracy, or at least it did before January…


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

1965 Selma March for Voting Rights

Maybe it is five years ago now, but at one of the high schools where I worked then, our most “at-risk” high school, a Language Arts teacher and a Librarian collaborated on a project about building monuments. This was even before the 2017 Charlottesville right-wing riot with its in retrospect focus on monuments and meanings. Even before our more famous version of this project.

One of the Monument Projects from Albemarle High School

I watched one young man building the model of his monument and asked him to tell me about it. “It’s a monument to front porches,” he said — and…

Ira David Socol

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