Mindworkers

Charlet T. Kerchner / MindWorkers

All the Stuff that Wasn’t in the Christmas Letter

In my Christmas letter, volume 54 of the Kerchner Chronicle, I promised readers an extension of the narrative here on the Mindworkers blog.  That was probably a mistake. Christmas letters are a difficult genre.  They veer from cute to seriously boring, and it’s hard to say anything substantive about family issues—no, no, too much information—religion, [...]

Something Completely Different: The Red Sock Caper

Just when your eyes were beginning to cross reading ed policy verbiage,  I offer the mystery of the Red Sock. The red sock disappeared.  Leanne had given me a very comfy pair of bright red socks that I wore when I was feeling reckless, wanting to make a fashion statement, or to put out flares [...]

A Small Tribute to a Fallen Photographer

I weep for fallen journalists, particularly photographers who put themselves in harm’s way to tell us stories that we find inconvenient. I never met Anja Niedringhaus, the Associated Press photographer who was intentionally shot by Afghan police officer on Friday, but I cry for her nonetheless.  Reporting war is one of the most dangerous jobs [...]

‘California The Great Exception’ at Education Week

Education Week has published an opinion piece about California that I think sets the tone for substantive discussions about the direction of public education in the United States.  The state, pointedly, is not following Arne Duncan’s lead, but it is not following Diane Ravitch either.  It’s headed in a third, or is it a fourth, way. [...]

‘On the Road’ with the Common Core

I’m headed out on what I am calling the Common Core Road Trip, to see what schools in California are doing with the prescription to teach to “fewer and deeper” standards.  Over the next weeks and months, I’ll be traveling the state, and telling the stories of how the 30,000-foot glossy promises of increased student [...]

The DMV and Expensive French Shoes: Who Treads Better?

I’ve had a close encounter with the California DMV.  The dreaded Division of Motor Vehicles required that I take the exam before it would renew my driver’s license.  Since I had not taken the written driver’s test for nearly 40 years, the experience filled me with much trepidation, and put me in a room with [...]

The Conversation I didn’t Have with Barack Obama

12/31/13 Kailua, Hawaii: I’ve been working on an Obama sighting for several days now.  He’s vacationing here, and we jog on the same beach…just not at the same time.  But a rum-punch inspired dream conjured up this conversation: CTK:  Nice day, Mr. President. BHO: Chuck!  Fancy meeting you here. CTK: Just vacationing with my family. [...]

Reporting on Common Core starts in Pomona with candid talk between labor and management

  I spent two days this week with the teachers and administrators of the Pomona Unified School District as they sought to find a way forward in implementing the Common Core. Associated Pomona Teachers took seriously the requirement in California law that school districts were supposed to “consult” over implementing the new standards and testing [...]

Big Money and the School Board: An Annotation of a “L.A. Times” Op-Ed

[This story has also been posted at Ed Source.] The Los Angeles Times Monday printed an op-ed piece I wrote about last week’s school board election, where a coalition of deep pockets givers spurred by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spent over $63 per vote.  It was not only big money but also money badly spent.  (Read [...]

Further Thoughts About Teacher-Run Schools

The discussion about teacher-run schools prompts me to jot a bit about why I am fascinated by this small, iconoclastic form of organization. I am, first of all, simply charmed by the schools I visited.  They are interesting places full of interesting people—both faculty and students.  There is a vibe and intensity to being there.  [...]

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