April 2010

Today I am off to Lesley University, right down the way in Porter Square, where one day care mom works, I know just where to park, I think, to be part of the Lesley Reggio Emilia Pre-Insitute. Today is the one of the three day Institute I am looking forward to the most, in honor of the Hawkins Centers of Learning http://www.hawkinscentersoflearning.org/. I can’t wait to go today, partly because it is my first time out in the larger world of education for awhile, partly because I am going to write a paper and get a college credit for the weekend, something I haven’t done in a long, long time, but mostly, because I am going to be in the presence of a group of amazing women today, some who have been mentors to women I have known and loved, others who have written books I have read, one who was a parent in my classroom a long time ago. The Hawkins Center website talks about the Hawkins couple in whose honor the Center was founded, about their lifelong commitment to learning and teaching, about their involvement with Head Start and Open Education and Reggio Emilia, all things from which I have a lot to learn, but also it talks about the centers commitment to democratic dialogue and to the experience of becoming as open-ended. So, for today, I am looking forward to that, hoping to take away images of these great women that I will hold in my mind until I am very old, and to take wisdom from their words and experience to inspire my own living and learning and teaching and caregiving, and if I am lucky, to make some connections to folks outside the famous ones, maybe to someone who wants to sit with me at lunch and share stories of our lives with children, bouncing ideas off one another, thinking about what next.

And while I am at the Lesley Institute, back at home in the day care, Liana will be holding down her own intergenerational fort. She will work with Emma Rome, second generation family day care provider, who I met at age nine at the birthday party of her cousin and my good friend’s son, first friend to my oldest son. Emma probably held Ben that day when she was nine and today she will spend the day with Liana and the kids, including our homeschooler, also nine, who wants to work with children, and who will hold our babies dear. Also, Liana will bring her good, lifelong friend, Eilleen, who was Liana’s teacher when Liana was nine years old, and who Liana helped in her classroom when Liana was a college student about Emma’s age and Eilleen was teaching third and fourth grade. Eilleen has come to town to visit our day care, to see where the grown-up Liana works, and I am both sad not to be part of this special day (Liana and I didn’t realize the conflict when we made our plans) and thrilled that the day will have such resonance and potential for intergenerational learning. I wish I could be two places at once. Lucky for me, after the Lesley adventure, I will have dinner with Liana and Eilleen, and if all goes well, and we are not all completely exhausted, we’ll share our stories then.

We walk the same route from the day care to the park and back again nearly every day. Today on the way home, my two and a half calls down into the metal grating covering a hole in the ground the size of many Somerville living rooms, adjacent to the apartment buildings, “Hello Mommy Daddy!”

He calls out with the same vigor and intonation as his older friends who have been saying “Hello Mommy Daddy!” down that hole for months. But today he is the one to say it first, and he grins broadly. Then the others join in and the chorus of “Hello Mommy Daddy!” from one to four is full of happiness and pride in each child’s sense of belonging to the group, and I think today, of calling joyfully to their parents, saying on some deeper level, “Hello Mommy Daddy, I’m ok! Day care is fun! My friends and I are here on our way home from the park playing our Hello Mommy Daddy game. Life is good.”

As it happened, I wanted to write it all down for you, partly because it was cool for my two and a half year old, whose first language is not English, to be leading the game, partly because I realized most parents probably don’t know about this game, and it would be fun for you to sit at your desks each day around 12:30 or 12:45 and listen for your children calling you, voices echoing in the big grating covered hole, and partly, because the sense of group was so strong right then that I could feel it in the children’s voices, smiles, and bodies, it was a vital force that needed to be shared.

Kids in day care get something good, and it is something different, I want to say, than what kids get when they are home alone with parents, or in a regular playgroup, or with a sitter or a grandparent or an aunt. Young kids living and learning in groups in child care are a phenomenon whose social rules and development may be unique. I hope someday the news will be as full of all the games kids play in quality programs with their friends as it is of all the challenges group care presents. Today I had nearly as much fun observing the Hello Mommy Daddy game as I did observing the twos through fours share knock-knock jokes at breakfast.  I listened carefully for the first time to the jokes and wanted to understand the rules of knock-knocks at different ages. What makes something fit the pattern of a knock-knock joke, what do I say next, what makes it funny, what makes each friend laugh, all questions our kids are exploring. These things deserve as much attention as the challenges some kids exhibit when they are in poor quality programs or are in care too much of their lives or are living with highly stressed families.

Today I am sitting in the project room of the day care. It is a cluttered space. The walls aren’t pretty, but the sun shines through the newly refurbished old windows, through the white cotton polka dot curtains, onto the table where we work. One boy brought rolls and rolls of bar code stickers to day care today, and I thought to put them on the art table with heavy white paper and dot markers. Turns out this was a very popular activity, and kids did all kinds of interesting things with it. Eventually, though, there were only the four who brought the stickers and his companion, a nearly three. They sat and painted, and while they did, the four asked the nearly three, “Did you get flooded?”

She replied, “Yeah, a little bit.”

He persisted, ” I wonder, did your basement get flooded?”

“Yeah, a little bit.” She replied, amazingly thoughtfully for a two and many months.

“How much?” asked the four.

“I didn’t get that much.” and she pauses to think. “About a foot. Not much in my basement.”

I sit astounded. How is it that when two and four year olds have the freedom to talk as they wish, when they are relaxed in the company of adults who help them to get out the paints and paper and stickers, who don’t tell them what to do, too much, that their talk drifts to flooding and basements? I might as well have been at Dunkin Donuts in Sudbury, where I stopped yesterday for a decaf, envied the table full of older folks drinking coffee and talking with animation to one another, intensity and eye contact at 10 am for the companionship of friends, old and young. Conversation, freedom of expression, a basic human right, a privilege of those who are not alone, is a gift to many of our old folks and to our children, no rule here that says no talking, that says, it is spring and therefore your artwork must look like this.

I think as I overhear this conversation about the privilege of privacy we have in our little family day care world. No one walks down the hall to check up on us and to see what we are doing. We can do whatever we want within the regulations, and even without if we so choose and don’t get caught, but mostly we stay inside the rules and still we have enormous freedom, and privacy, which we share and extend to our children.

I wonder how many other programs use this same freedom and privacy to do things or to neglect to do things that we might all wish were more visible. Sometimes I hear stories about family day care providers whose kids live on donuts and tv, who leave ashtrays of cigarette butts on the end tables in reach of their toddlers, who keep toys put away in closets so only they can take them out. I have seen kids in carriages from day care centers strapped into their seats and walked around the block, never to touch the ground, and back to their square block classrooms in time for lunch and nap. And then I think, privacy for us is wonderful. Transparency, though, has it’s place, and while I feel lucky that the state doesn’t require me to make lesson plans, that bar code stickers and watercolor paints and conversations about the flood can happen in one room while kids play good guys and bad guys or lay on the couch or read books with a teacher, or dump buckets of toys to explore in the other rooms, I know it isn’t all rainbows and happy trees for kids and grown-ups in many places.

One friend left his job, though, because of too much accountability. He could have been fired for failing to take attendance in his toddler group every ten minutes by the clock, forget about reading stories uninterrupted, or changing diapers when a kid made a poop, if it was 1:10 and his supervisor walked in, he had to be taking attendance. Same place required the kids to sleep with lights on, to have lights on at all times in fact, the overhead flourescent ones that give some grown-ups migraines were required by the national corporation to be lit for their youngest children from earliest morning to darkest night, never turned off in case something bad might happen. Something bad happened in one of their other centers one time, when the lights were off, and therefore, to lessen the chance of another such bad thing happening, all the kids and all the grown-ups in all the centers run by this corporation worldwide had to live with the lights on all the time. Shocking but true, and my friend moved on, while other, likely less qualified and less experienced teachers or providers moved in, the way it goes in places that deny freedom, those with less choice, with fewer options, accept the position of less freedom, learn to live by the rules that to some of us would feel like torture.

I wonder if it is a stage of adult development, this realization that you can’t have it all. I drive the carpool to Sudbury Valley today, surrounded by kids whose families have chosen or are in the process of trying to choose to send their child off on a different path, away from organized academics, traditional school, to a place where kids choose how to spend their time, what to think about and explore and do. On my way home, I think about what is lost and what is gained, how hard it is for me to accept sometimes the reality of life, how hard it was to understand that being divorced also meant being without my children, that choosing to work in my day care means not having a role in the public schools, other than as a parent, that I both love and value the time I spend with children, and am a working mom, am supporting other moms (and dads) in being separate from their kids by being together with mine and theirs, by working hard and never having been a stay at home mom, other than for a few months when Ben was first born, how hard it has been to accept that living my life in Somerville, far from home and family and the friendships of my early life, means never going back, starting and making my own way, how tricky it has been sometimes to reconcile myself to being a city person when my roots are in the country, to stop imagining that some day I might be a farmer, or a public school teacher, and maybe I will be someday, the willingness to suspend knowing the tricky part, to accept many rights and many wrongs on each path, in each model, within each decision, just to go on living every day, feet splayed like the horseman in the circus last Friday, balancing on two galloping horses in a ring to a clapping audience, guided by a woman in a beautiful dress with a whip, telling the horses what to do, the man with super strong legs and nerves of steel, the audience amazed at two horses keeping pace, at the rider balancing as the horses leapt and circled, speeded up and slowed down, at the beautiful woman smiling in synchronicity with the man and horses, keeping it all together with a glow. And you figure there were times when the man fell, when the woman shouted, when the horses moved at different paces, when the audience, if only an audience of one in a practice ring, when one or all of them were disappointed, hurt even, and somehow they all went on.

We are studying growing and dying and changing things, mostly plants. We have had our hands on all kinds of flowers, inside and out, and bulbs, and roots and shoots. Awhile back, Liana brought some sprouting onions and a sprouting potato. We started wondering, after having the potato on the windowsill for a week or so, why the potato hadn’t gotten long shoots growing out of it. The shoots were short and stubby and knobbly. We wondered if it was to do with light, thought it would be interesting to put one potato in the dark, one in the light. Today we had those two potatoes, both left out, one on the counter, one on the window ledge. I asked if we should put one in the dark. Our four thought we should put both in the dark. At first I said it would be hard to tell the difference between light and dark that way, but when he insisted, I thought, why not, this is his version of science, and also, we’ve watched awhile on the windowsill and have a sense of what the potato is doing in the light. Now we can find out about the dark. I suggested someplace in the kitchen, either in the cupboard under the counter or in the drawer of the stove, then thought twice about the drawer, realizing it might get hot when the oven is on. The four liked the cupboard idea, put both potatoes there inside a cooking pot. I took pictures so we could see what the potatoes looked like when we started. He suggested we check back next Tuesday, looking up at the ceiling as he calculated, as kids do when they are seeing something in their mind, and I realize it is Tuesday today and that is his day to come, and I say, one week sounds about right for checking on the potato.

Later in the morning, my four comes to the kitchen and says, let’s check on the potato. He opens the cupboard door and looks. I wonder how many times he will check, if he will forget about the experiment, how he will react, my own experiment, part potato, part kid.

Sorry the photos are a little blurry. I was having trouble with the camera today.

Today we arrive at the park after a tour de force of the neighborhood blossoms and flowers. There is a four from Macky and Michael’s family day care standing there by the fence, eager to greet us.

“Hi,” he beams. “Isn’t it funny that the world just keeps on going?”

Just what I love to hear, more wonder.

Partway to the park, my three had her version. “Look!” she had said. “Lilacs! Spring is here!”

Not that different from the Tolstoy quote in Writers’ Almanac this morning, struck me hard, didn’t know who to share it with til just now. Enjoy, from Tolstoy and the kids and me, the world keeps on going, lilacs are here again, and spring just keeps on coming.

In April of 1858, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (books by this author) wrote to Alexandra Tolstoy, his aunt twice-removed and his closest confidante. He called her babushka,or grandmother, as a sort of joke, although she wasn’t much older than him. He wrote:

“Babushka! It’s spring! It is so good to be alive on this earth, for all good people and even for such as I. Nature, the air, everything is drenched in hope, future, a wonderful future. … When I think about it more soberly, I know perfectly well I am nothing but an old frozen potato, rotten, cooked and served up with a tasteless sauce full of lumps, but the springtime has such a powerful effect on me that I sometimes catch myself imagining I am a plant that has just opened and spread its leaves among all the other plants and is going to grow up simply, peacefully and joyfully on the good Lord’s earth. … Make way for this wonderful plant that is filling out its buds and growing in the spring.”

Today was our first day back from vacation. I felt lucky, as I always do, to be back in the day care, to be with the kids and families and teachers again, to visit our park, to make food and share it with the kids, to tidy the place with young hands, to be out in the world and soaking it all in from the perspective of the kids, to see all that has changed in the neighborhood in one short week, cherry and apple blossoms bursting, jonquils fading, tulips passing their peak, friends at the park with stories to share of things they have done, leaves all burst out and the world green as ever, winter truly past, spring in full bloom, still cool enough today for sweaters, but possible now to imagine sun and water and skin and channels in the sand.

When I’m away for a week, with friends and family who are teachers, lawyers, doctors, students, retired, living in the country or the suburbs or another state, it seems possible to imagine another life, one where I might have accomplished more, lived differently, been somehow and in some ways happier or more fulfilled, to think sometimes of other paths I might someday take, other lives I might someday live. But when I am back, and in the moment, buttering warm, freshly baked bread for my charges, hearing my four ask how do the geese cry, then making tender whimpering sounds that feel just right, when I am tearing apart cone flowers from Ashfield with my hands, flowers dried and turned to seed, surrounded by a table full of toddlers and threes, when my three asks to help each time I am in the kitchen, first with the rice, then with the breakfast, then with the lunch, when my fours make homes for their loveys while wearing fancy dress up clothes, then willingly take stacks of bricks from my hands and place them thoughtfuly, tightly on the shelf, when Alice says something just right to a child, again  and again and again, and I have the privilege to overhear her while I am busy across the room, when my two smiles and gives me my first real hug from her as I change her diaper, having said Hello, Maria to me, grinning broadly and looking in my eyes from across the room two times already this morning, when my new dad calls midmorning, and at first I don’t know who he is, then I do, and he is calling from the hospital where his wife and the new baby are so nearby that I can hear them in the background, then I think, how could I do anything else? How would any other life be better? What would make me happier? Where would I rather live? What work could bring me deeper satsisfaction? And I count the years this afternoon that I have been with my nines, eight years almost, from toddlerhood through middle childhood, and on the playground today after school, we stay over one hour, out in the sun two times today sitting with adults who keep their children company so the children can run and play and be outdoors, like minds, happy hearts, good conversation, very lucky to be me.

This morning the kids are I are with friends, having spent the day yesterday in the city, visiting the ICA (Institute for Contemporary Art) with friends, then having dinner on the water in RI with friends, then staying up late talking with friends, waking up in the morning to coffee, newspaper, conversation, again with friends. Midmorning, we debated going to a Unitarian service, which I keep wondering about, which I imagine I would enjoy, but we opted for more time sitting around at the table while kids goofed around us.

Talking with good old friends, or getting to know a new person whose ideas resonate with mine, does more for me than listening to a minister or preacher these days, sort of like going to a good meeting, even a little like sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by people talking or on their laptops, or taking a walk in the city through bustling neighborhoods, this social aspect of being human, testing myself against the humanness of others, this being in a sea of humans, is a huge part of what I need to feel at ease.

Getting a balance of that this April vacation, that being alone with a book or in the woods with a camera and the leaves, or thinking alone in the early morning hours, balanced out with time with friends and family, in the city, in conversation, even in an e-mail exchange with one or a group of people, that finding meaning on a deeper level, out of the daily routine, mind and body freer to roam, touching upon people, places, things, ideas I don’t come across in the routines of my daily life a clue for me to the restorativeness and the rejuvenation of vacation.

Last June Liana and I attended the AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) Conference in Albany, New York. I had been inspired by AERO when I discovered it’s online resources in the fall of 2008, and had spoken with it’s leader, Jerry Mintz, about the possibility of starting a new alternative to school. For me, finding others around the world fully engaged in creating alternatives in education was hope restoring.

At the conference, I ended up attending a session lead by Lynn Stoddard, entitled Educating for Human Greatness. It was held in the main room of the conference hotel, and was well-attended. Lynn captured our attention with his presence, his personal story, and with the story of a group of teachers in the public school in Utah where he had been principal. These teachers decided to take the time in the parent teacher conferences to find out what parents wanted for their children. In so doing, they discovered a surprising consistency of response, and followed the lead of families to reshape their work with children. The piece below does a better job of describing how Educating for Human Greatness came to be, and what it is about. Please read it!

At the end of Lynn Stoddard’s presentation at AERO last June, he announced that he had written a book about Educating for Human Greatness, but had only nine copies left. At least two people in the audience stood up and talked about the impact the book had on them, on the clarity and wisdom it offered, and on their wish to share the ideas with others. Lynn also had a hand printed shorter version of his ideas and hand printed flyers available to sell for one dollar per copy and free, respectively. By the time I got to the front of the line, the last nine books had been sold out, and I was only able to buy the hand printed short version and to collect my free copy of Lynn’s flier (below?). (I read both early the following morning in the hotel hall outside my room while my roommate slept, and was sold right away.)

One member of the audience was so excited by Lynn’s talk that he raised his hand and offered his help in publishing a new version of Educating for Human Greatness. Lynn also put out a pad of notebook paper and invited members of the audience who wanted to help spread the word about his concepts to leave their contact information. From that contact sheet, Lynn made an e-mail list, and shortly after I returned home from the conference, I began to hear from him fairly regularly, thanking the group for it’s interest, sharing his own outreach to government officials in Utah, and at the national level, communicating his concern about the standards and standardized testing movements in education, offering Educating for Human Greatness as a model for reform, and inviting educators, citizens, and officials into a dialogue with him on how things might be different.

The group of folks to whom Lynn sent these e-mails  included many interesting people, many well-known or highly accomplished educators from around the US, and others like me, who were interested and wanted to know more, but who didn’t really know how to help. At one point, the man from the audience who had offered to help publish the book, Anthony Dallman-Jones, invited members of the e-mail group to sponsor the publishing of a second edition of Educating for Human Greatness. For a small financial contribution, and a pledge to help spread the word about EfHG, thirteen of us together could help get Lynn’s book out to the world again. I was in the middle of a separation at the time, and while I was worried about the finances of my future, I had the money to help, and wanted to give it to Lynn for his book.

Now the book is republished. I have been lucky to have a very small part in making that happen, and have been called upon by Lynn and Anthony, as part of this group of sponsors, to get the word out so others will learn about Educating for Human Greatness. We hope that you will read the flyer below, connect to the links or the Facebook group sponsored by members of the EfHG group. We hope that the ideas will inspire you as they did us, and that you will begin to talk about them with your friends and family and colleagues. If all goes well, some of you who are educators or invested in education will begin to find evidence of EfHG in your work with children, in your advocacy for public schools, in your own concepts of school reform and how we want to raise our next generation of children. Some of you may even test out or implement ideas from EfHG. Schools are being started right now with these concepts at the core. Lynn and Anthony are interested in supporting teachers or schools or districts who want to learn more, or who are looking for support for developing EfHG in their programs. The EfHG group has high hopes that these ideas, simple and elegant and wise, coming from an experienced teacher and principal, culled from years of experience with teachers and families and students in schools, will make great sense to you, and that you will adopt them as your own. EfHG is supported by a group of hopeful, optimistic, questioning, activist, caring people, and I am proud to have found even a small connection to them. I invite you to check out the material and the links below and to join us in our work, as you are so inspired. Have a great day.

Website for new book:


Information about First Edition, available on CD-ROM:


Template for a letter writing campaign to public officials:


A piece in The Daily Kos written by Kenneth Bernstein, public school educator, and member of EfHG


Facebook Group: Educating for Human Greatness

Flyer below from the following web site:


Educating for Human Greatness

of Teaching, Thinking and Learning
© 2008 The Human Greatness Group

“There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake.” — C. S. Lewis

In 1983 a National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a “Nation At Risk Report” and set in motion a series of government-imposed reforms, all based on a false goal, student achievement in curriculum. The latest of these reforms, “No Child Left Behind,” put extra pressure on teachers to ignore the diverse needs of students and to standardize education through scripted reading, writing, and math. This top-down pressure is evidence that public school teaching is not regarded as a profession in our society.

Over many years our culture has become so obsessed with curriculum we have lost sight of our purpose – curriculum for what? Student achievement in curriculum has become a false goal, an end in and of itself. Grade-point-averages have become the main indicators of achievement in education. We have a cultural cramp – a mass mind-set that spawns counterfeit reform movements.

For genuine reform of public education we must start with a clear purpose. We suggest Education for Human Greatness.

In 1973, ten years before “Nation at Risk,” the teachers at Hill Field Elementary School in Clearfield, Utah decided to ask parents about their priorities for the education of their children. In interviews with thousands of parents, over several years, teachers were surprised to learn of three needs that parents felt were more important to them than the need to have a child achieve in reading, writing and arithmetic.

First, parents wanted teachers to respect children as individuals, to pay attention to each child’s special needs, and to help youngsters develop their unique talents and abilities.

Second, they wanted children to increase in curiosity and passion for knowledge – they wanted children to “fall in love with learning.”

And third, parents wanted teachers to help children learn how to express themselves, communicate and get along. The priorities were so consistent with nearly every parent, the teachers surmised that these may be the core needs of people in every culture – the need to know who we are and what we can become (identity), the need for knowledge (inquiry), and the need for respect and love (interaction).

This finding led to a new concept – curriculum should not be viewed as a goal, but as a tool to help students grow in identity, inquiry and interaction. Even though the concept was temporarily smothered by the standardization movement, it remained alive all these years and has now evolved to become a framework for authentic changes of public, private and other forms of education.

A Clear Purpose for Education

Develop great human beings to be contributors (not burdens) to society by focusing on 7 Dimensions of Human Greatness:

1. Identity – Help students learn who they are – as individuals with unlimited potential, develop their unique talents and gifts to realize self-worth and develop a strong desire to be contributors to family, school and community.

2. Inquiry – Stimulate curiosity; awaken a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature and humankind. Help students develop the power to ask important questions.

3. Interaction – Promote courtesy, caring, communication and cooperation.

4. Initiative – Foster self-directed learning, will power and self-evaluation.

5. Imagination – Nurture creativity in all of its many forms.

6. Intuition – Help students learn how to feel and recognize truth with their hearts as well as with their minds – develop spirituality and humility.

7. Integrity – Develop honesty, character, morality and responsibility for self.

SURPRISE: When reading, writing, math and other disciplines are taught as tools rather than goals, students’ learning produces more depth and breadth, they retain more of what they learn and are able to apply it to solve other problems.

This “higher vision” allows teachers to perform as professionals who involve parents and inspire students to accomplish amazing things.

Contacts for more information:

Lynn Stoddard, a veteran educator, is the author of three books and numerous articles on the need and ways to reinvent schooling. lstrd@yahoo.com

MaryBeth Merritt is an educator, scientist, parent, artist and community activist She is a founder of Four Winds, a non-profit educational organization. merrittmb@aol.com

Don Perl – Is a lifetime educator of thirty-five years. He is presently an adjunct professor of Spanish at the University of Northern Colorado. dperl@myexcel.com

Phoebe Plank, a teacher for 15 years, is taking one year off from teaching to bring Educating for Human Greatness to students, teachers and administrators. plankphoebe@yahoo.com

Susan Ohanian – A longtime teacher and prolific writer on education issues. She maintains a website in opposition to the corporate-politico takeover of schools and the standardization of curriculum. susano@gmavt.net

Emmanuel Bernstein is a veteran educator who has taught all ages. He wrote the book, The Secret Revolution: A Psychologist’s Adventures in Education. mannyber@yahoo.com

Yvonne Siu-Runyan – Dr. Siu-Runyan is professor emerita, the University of Northern Colorado and a member of the presidential team for the National Council Teachers of English hanalei@indra.com

Lu Pilgrim – Faculty, Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, CA, 50 years of experience as a public and independent school teacher and administrator in MI, CA, UT, and WY. pilgrims@mcn.org

Philip Kovacs — A former high school English teacher now teaching teachers, Dr. Kovacs helped organize the Educator Roundtable which solicited over 30,000 thousand signatures on a petition calling on Congress to dismantle NCLB. philipkovacs@yahoo.com

Mary Orlando has been a Montessori educator for the past 40 years, teaching at every developmental level from 3 year olds through 8th grade. morlando@villamontessori.com

Betty Terrell is a third grade teacher at Sacajawea Elementary School, in Seattle WA, which adopted as its mission 12 years ago, Educating for Human Greatness. bettyrterrell@yahoo.com.

Alfie Kohn, the author of eleven books, has been recognized by Time magazine as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.” www.alfiekohn.org.

Nel Noddings – A Lee L. Jacks Professor of Childhood Education, Emerita at Stanford University. Her latest book is When School Reform Goes Wrong. noddings@stanford.edu

Stephen Krashen is best known for developing the first comprehensive theory of second language acquisition. He is the author of several books. skrashen@yahoo.com

Darrell Stoddard — Founder, Pain Research Institute www.healpain.net Author of PAIN FREE FOR LIFE, Email: stoddard@healpain.net

Lawrence Baines – Professor Baines is Judith Daso Herb Chair in Adolescent Literacy at The University of Toledo. lbaines@UTNet.UToledo.edu

Boyd R. Cox – Dr. Cox is a retired educator with 25 years teaching experience as an elementary teacher and who taught 8 years as an adjunct instructor in basic mathematics and electronics at a community college. coxbo@msn.com

William Spady, an internationally recognized authority, is the author of five books. He is the current Director of the New Possibilities Network. billspady@earthlink.net

More Contacts ….. lstrd@yahoo.com

Educating for Human Greatness

of Teaching, Thinking and Learning

© 2008 The Human Greatness Group

We went for the first time ever to The Big Apple Circus. Man! It was fun. The circus people were/are amazing. Didn’t occur to me to take pictures, though, until I saw my boy’s face watching the amazing guy juggling small balls with his mouth. The slack jawed smile reminded me of the camera in my bag and for the next few minutes, until a circus bouncer type guy came and asked the woman behind me if she was recording the performance, my attention was divided between the awesome juggler and the faces of my kids and their friend watching him. Can’t say which thing made me happier. Good to have a night of amazement. Terrific way to close out our April vacation week. Went from tired, to rested, to amazed, not bad.

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