Monthly Archives: July 2007

strategies for broadening the curriculum

I’m with those (including Senator Harkin–see yesterday–and George Miller, who is a key US Representative) who decry the narrowing of the American school curriculum in recent years. The reason seems to be relentless pressure to raise math and reading test … Continue reading

Posted in education policy | Leave a comment

Senator Harkin on education

I’m on Capitol Hill at a meeting of United Voices for Education, a group organized by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) to support the aspects of education that are overlooked in current policy: the arts, civic and character … Continue reading

Posted in education policy | Leave a comment

teens address school reform

On Wednesday night, we finished our summer program for 13 kids, ages 12-14. They built a website on issues in the Prince George’s County (MD) school system, which they attend. Their site is part of the Prince George’s Information Commons, … Continue reading

Posted in a high school civics class | Leave a comment

welcome, fundamentalists

We live in Cleveland Park, DC, an affluent, liberal, urban neighborhood of mostly single-family homes (median family income= $124,000; average family size=2.57; 84% white). I don’t think the US Census collects data on religion, but I would not be surprised … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

civic engagement in Britain

Centralized executive power is dangerous–but it provides great opportunities when the chief executive happens to have good ideas. The new British Prime Minister has committed to civic engagement. Since he has the votes to control Parliament, he should be able … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

public participation in grantmaking

Led by Cindy Gibson, a group of us has helped the Case Foundation to develop an innovative grant competition that involves online voting about which proposals to fund. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ran a story about this competition that, as … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Early in P.D. James’ mystery Death in Holy Orders (2001), she establishes that her characters will speak formal, allusive, complex English of the type that an average reader could never master in real speech. Here, for example, a divinity teacher … Continue reading

Posted in fine arts | Leave a comment

Sekou Sundiata, 1948-2007

I was very sorry to read in The New York Times that Sekou Sundiata has died. I once had the privilege to speak on a panel with him and have heard some of his performances. (Visit Salon for some sample … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Here’s our mapping class, a bunch of kids between the ages of 13 and 15 who are interviewing a former chair of the County Council about how to improve their public school system. (I show a photo because we are … Continue reading

Posted in memoir | Leave a comment

stability of character

I think most people believe, as a matter of common sense, that individuals have stable characters. In fact, it turns out that the word “character” comes from a Greek noun for the stamp impressed on a coin. We think that … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | 1 Comment