Monday, September 03, 2012

Tuesday - Ron Wolk on "Wasting Minds"

Join me Tuesday, September 4th, for a live and interactive webinar with Ron Wolk, to discuss his book Wasting Minds: Why Our Education System Is Failing and What We Can Do About It. 

Currently Chairman at Big Picture Learning, and the founder and former editor of Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Quality Counts, "Wolk draws on three decades spent in the school reform trenches to question the common assumptions about the U.S. education system. Instead of calling for more reform efforts, Wolk makes the case for a new schooling strategy where students break free of the failing assembly line approach to learning and receive the individualized instruction they deserve."

Wolk "insists that the dominant reform efforts have not closed the student achievement gap, reduced the 'scandalous' dropout rate, or even improved schools. Wolk asserts that simply introducing new practices and reforms to the existing education system will not work—the system is broken beyond repair." (Quotes from the ASCD press release).

Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and a portable .mp3 audio is at
Mightybell Discussion and Resource Space:

Ron's autobiography:  "In September 1981, I started Education Week. Since then I’ve spent virtually every waking moment reading about, thinking about, and writing about education.

"Over the years, I visited hundreds of schools—some so bad they made me weep, and some so good they made me weep. I attended countless meetings, often with the brightest people in the field, and I learned from them. And, from the editor’s seat at Education Week and Teacher Magazine, I had a ringside view of the education reform movement in its first 20 years.

"For most of my professional life I’ve had one foot in journalism and one in education. I spent the 1960s at the Johns Hopkins University, first as editor of the Johns Hopkins Magazine, then as assistant to President Milton S. Eisenhower.

"I also served as vice president of Brown University from 1969 to 1978 where I was responsible for external affairs and institutional advancement.

"Both of those jobs were so gratifying and rewarding that I came to believe with John Masefield that 'There is no earthly place more splendid than a university.'

"Between my stints at Johns and Brown, I served on two national commissions; The Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education under the leadership of Clark Kerr, the former and brilliant President of the University of California; and then National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, established by President Lyndon Johnson in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. Milton Eisenhower led that effort and he summoned me from California for one of the most interesting assignments of my life.

"I left Brown in 1978 to take over the presidency of Editorial Projects in Education. My predecessor and dear friend, Corbin Gwaltney, hired me for the Johns Hopkins Magazine job and taught me a great deal about creative journalism.

"As chairman of the board of EPE during the 1960’s, I worked closely with Corbin and helped create and launch the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"After nearly 20 years at EPE/Education Week, I retired and moved to Rhode Island, fully intending to leave education reform behind. But that was not to be.

"As the new century was beginning, I succeeded Ted Sizer as chair of Big Picture Learning in Providence, which was led by Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor—two of the most innovative and daring men I’ve ever worked with. Under contract with the state, the duo designed and launched the Metropolitan Career and Technical Academy, a one-of-a-kind high school that became the model for some 70 schools established by Big Picture in the U.S. and abroad. Tom Vander Ark of the Gates Foundation dubbed the Met his 'favorite high school' in the country and Gates made multimillion contributions to Big Picture’s work.

"When I took over from Ted Sizer, I had already become disillusioned with the school reform movement and deeply pessimistic about the future of public education. Working with Big Picture and the Met, I saw that imagination and hard work could help the neediest kids educate themselves, and I began to hope again that we can create public schools that work.

"The old clich√© is that pessimists see the glass half empty and optimists see the glass half full. I am neither. Regarding public education, I am an idealist: I see the glass as it is and can’t accept the fact that it is not full."

1 comment:

  1. Almerinda Garibaldi4:25 PM

    I fully agree with your comments.
    I can say that I'm also an idealist who like to write too.
    I've just retired from the education government system, and share the same feelings about the half part of the liquid that is not in the glass.
    Regarding Education Brazil lives a huge crisis. Government thinks about economy all the time, and doesn't note that a country need brilliant minds to make the economy sustainable.
    As an idealist, I still believe we have some time to change that situation.
    It was nice to read about you and your ideas.

    Almerinda Garibaldi


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