Every Building Tells a Story

I like to drive by schools when I visit a new town. It’s a way I get a sense of a community. Last weekend, I visited Eastern Oregon for the first time. Our hosts own 20 acres, which they farm for alfalfa that they sell to Japan. The have chickens, goats, a large garden. They both have full-time professional jobs. In short, they are financially […]

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Racism Goes to School

Preface In the time since I began to write this post, racism has been visible in Portland in a number of ways, one horrific enough to make national news. But there have been local incidents too. For example, at the middle school a few blocks away, an 8th grader waiting at a bus stop was harassed with racial slurs. This poster appeared not too far […]

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#SOL17: Gobsmacked*

I could have titled this post “Learning By Happenstance,” because I happened on an announcement about a town hall regarding education cuts in Oregon and decided to go. It was an eye-opener, to say the least, especially for someone trying to make sense of a completely new education system. What I learned: Two pieces of Oregon legislation dramatically changed the course of the public schools, beginning in […]

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Discards

When I told people I was moving to Portland, OR, I received pretty consistent reactions. “Oh, I love Portland.” Or, ” Ohhhh, I have always wanted to go to Portland.” Or, “Ha— I’ve seen Portlandia. I’ve heard it’s just like that.” But it would be a mistake to reinforce the impression that PDX is an idyllic hipster haven. Yes, there are independent bookstores, coffee shops on every block, […]

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#SOL17: W&GOT, an Alt-LOL Exploration

What is W&GOT? In this newly alt-world, it’s my alt-LOL; it stands for Wailing and Gnashing Of Teeth. Because in a stunning frenzy of whatever-the-f$%k-you-want-to-call-it, Betsy DeVos has made it out of committee and is headed to a confirmation vote by the full Senate. It was, by all accounts, procedural insanity at its finest. Here’s how NPR education reporter Cory Turner summed it up– apologies […]

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Action Report #5: Self-Care for the Resistance

It’s been a tough week for action. My husband and I flew to our new city for an inspection on our (we hope) new house the Sunday after the Women’s March on NYC. While we were there, I learned, among other things, that it is hard to call east coast legislators from a west coast time zone– by the time I was ready to call, offices had been […]

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Action Report #4: Facts Don’t Matter. Shift the Frame!

The Personal, the Political The most important personal-political action I’ve taken in the past two weeks is to read George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Lakoff, a cognitive scientist and linguist, has spent a lifetime studying how our brains construct meaning. Lakoff argues that progressive folks keep turning to facts to argue against the swelling conservative movement and facts don’t matter. What […]

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Post-election Action Report #3 : Got Hope?

As January 20 looms, I feel increasingly grim. I believe, I know individual action makes change possible. I just don’t have much hope that there’s going to be an outcome I feel good about. But when the pall of grimness sets in, it’s important to wade in, get to know exactly what’s generating the bleak fog. This week, I know part of the grimness is due […]

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How The Interwebz Helped Bring Donald Trump To Power

Go with me here. This is no typical political analysis. Rather, it’s a journey through some of the deep– and invisible– changes in society triggered, in part, by the development of communications technologies. Specifically, the internet. And, while it appears to be about Donald Trump, I believe it goes a long way toward explaining educator resistance to bringing technologies– and the related dispositions– into the […]

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