They say a picture is worth a thousand words and a story is worth a thousand pictures. I think that if we share all kinds of stories from the inspirational to the sad, we can create a group of powerful examples to be used to leverage change or motivate new approaches to help today's kids. We all have stories of pivotal moments and people who changed our lives and those of our students and moved us in new directions. Read if you like, share if you like, in this possible "Chicken Soup for the Educational Change Agents' Soul" compilation.

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I first posted these thoughts on Roger Schank's site

My first impressions

There is a natural human need to qualify the shortcomings of public education by citing the fact that we survived it. We find ourselves excusing weaknesses or blatant mistakes made by the education system by saying; "It was the same when I was a kid, you'll survive." It came to me sometime late in my teaching tenure that we in public education should be doing much more than creating a situation to be survived. From my first day of school at Kennedy Elementary, in Texarkana Texas, I knew something was amiss. Something in my young mind felt an invisible hand at work in all the procedures from the lunch line, to choosing teams for gym class. There seemed to be a design in place that assumed kids would do bad things and planned accordingly. The next thing I noticed was that the chairs were hard and uncomfortable. In the real world chairs of this sort were in restaurants where the goal was to have you eat quickly, then pay and leave so they could get another customer into that seat as soon as possible. Because we were brought to school en-mass, many rules, it seemed were designed to help manage a herd of children, rather than a collection of individual minds.
This is a terrific idea, Kevin. It's a place to get the emotional side out to all this cerebral activity on the other pages. I hope a few people take advantage here. I think I'll be doing some self-disclosure as well. Please don't be too horrified! :-)
go girl! : )
Kevin, I am very impressed by your comparison! I never associated a restaurant with school, but your observation is correct. I am a public school district survivor and educator, and I also feel the goal is to survive. Through conversations held with my friends who went to private school, I realize the goals are set high, which meant worker harder and reaching the high expectations.

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