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"No Child Left Behind and the Spirit of Democratic Education"

—a chapter from Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us by Mike Rose

"You can prep kids for a certain kind of test, get a bump in scores, yet not be providing a very good education. The end result is the replication of a troubling pattern in American schooling: poor kids get an education of skills and routine, a lower-tier education, while students in more affluent districts get a robust course of study."

Selections from The Mind at Work

Mike rose describes the facilities his mother used as a waitress — remembering orders, balancing dishes, chatting with customers — and how she learned those skills.

Selections from Lives on the Boundary

Passages from Rose's book on the struggles and achievements of America's underprepared. He reflects on students' dreams of literacy, and the yearning to become a better version of one's self.

Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog

A video that's so heartbreakingly gorgeous and unswerving in its emotional sway, it'll have you pondering your own station in life.

When we value the mindfulness and intellectual rigor in all kinds of work — including manual forms of labor — what do we learn about ourselves? A reflection on appreciating labor in its many forms.

"The skills gap is a reflection of what we value. To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work." ~Mike Rowe

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Training and employing unskilled laborers as apprentices and teaching "anyone with a work ethic" how to build.

We made a trip to a nearby historic eatery to gather sound for this program.

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Krista is given a new appreciation for "the sidelines of my education."

Our guest rediscovers Studs' magic in his interview — discussing imaginative educators defying the odds.

About the Image

Rose Emily, our guest's mother, during her shift at Coffee Dan's, a once-famous landmark in downtown L.A. (circa 1953-54).

(photo: Mike Rose)

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I just listened to the unedited interview Krista Tippett did with Katy Payne. It is one of the most beautiful conversations I have ever had the privilege to hear.

In one conversation Krista and Katy seamlessly range from whale song to the environment to dance to poverty to friendship to silence to war to Elephant song and beyond. In the peaceful ebb and flow of that dialogue they caught something deep and profound about humanity and nature.

I feel grateful that people like Krista and Katy are in the world, doing work that both gives us insight into humanity and helps reconnect us to nature. It inspires me to think about how I can make my own positive contribution to the world.

Whales and Elephants are such amazing animals. They are a lot like humans and can teach us many great lessons in life.

First, they can teach us respect for everyone, regardless of their race and beliefs. Ms. Payne said that she watched as the elephants walked pass a dead calf. This calf was not "one of their kind" but they still paid their respects to it. Some of the elephants tried many times to lift the calf up onto its feet. These elephants show us that it does not matter what race you are, but when someone needs help, you should help them.

These animals can also teach us how to listen. With life so busy and crazy, radios blasting and t.v.s blaring, it is very hard for us humans to listen intensely to the other quieter things going on around us. Ms. Payne said that after spending some time alone in the zoo, she could hear a trobbing in the air and it was the elephants communicating to each other. Elephants communicate with each other from a far far distance by infrasound. I think we human adults block out these sounds. Ms. Payne could hear these trobbing sounds but how many of us have gone to the zoo hearing nothing.

11th grade. Spanish Class. Señora Luis; "David, if you ever quit studying Spanish, I'm gonna find you, and kill you." I now have a Master's Degree in Spanish and I am a Spanish Teacher. Gracias Señora Luis.

I was very moved by the sounds of whales and elephants in this interview. There is a deep connection made when we can hear our animal brothers and sisters. There is something in us that responds to wildness and which in some way connects us to the natural world in a deeply spiritual way, a world from which most of us have been removed. This connection may be critical to our very survival.

I think the elephants in Katie's dream were saying that what they were giving to her was purely a gift of recognition and that the gift was for her and there was no need to do anything else with it. This gift was an honoring from the elephants who could recognize a kindred spirit. The fact that she has shared her stories with us is a gift to us. We can do whatever we want with it. I hope we will use her gift to help protect our natural environment

That magic moment in third year undergraduate university when suddenly the words on the page suddenly became alive - that very day during the lecture on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream when I suddenly realized that Shakespeare was writing about real people - people like me and everyone I ever knew - for the first time in my life I learned to read - truly read - what a world opened for me that day! What a blessings to have that professor come into my life! And I've been reading, reading and reading every since! And, by the way, I am now teaching Western literature in a college in a remote area of China. And, hopefully, teaching sons and daughters of peasant farmers to read - really read!

This is in response to The Meaning of Intelligence with Mike Ross. I went into foster care in 1976 when I was 14 years old. When I was enrolled into a new school, I was placed in the vocational path solely because I was in foster care. I was placed in classes that taught me how to balance a check book. I had some success running track. My track coach encouraged me to consider college. With his help, I transferred to the college prep courses and was Who's Who among high school students my senior year. I was awarded a track and cross country scholarship at Berry College and graduated in 1984 with a B.S.

Spiritually, I was drawn more towards the non-traditional. I studied Science of Mind (Ernest Holmes)for over 20 years and moved towards Buddhism (both non-dualistic) about 6 years ago because of the emphasis on mediation. I love exploring the Truth that runs through all teachings. I appreciate Speaking of Faith and Krista Tippett for presenting a deep and honest look at all the traditions. It's a beautiful and brilliant show.

with love and a deep bow

Tracy Steele

I too have found much contentment with non-dualistic thinking and the "intelligence" that is inherent in that way of being!

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a positive “ah ha!” moment but I have had some important ones. They have normally come from bad experiences where I end up seeking God and thinking “Ah ha! That’s why I learned that in school!” My freshman year of college, one of my best friends died of a drug overdose. I wrote a letter to her as a way to get my feelings out and let her and her family know how much her friendship had impacted my life. I gave the letter to her mom at her viewing and she later asked me to read it at her funeral. I agreed to. On the day of the funeral, I got up to speak and found myself standing in front of 200 people doing the toughest thing in my life at that point: speaking in public when my heart was breaking and trying not to lose composure. As I was reading, my mind flashed back to my speech class I had taken the semester before and I focused on all the public speaking techniques I had learned. It helped me keep from breaking down in that moment. So on the inside, when I was done, I remember thinking “Wow, something I learned in school has actually helped me in the real world.” It was a very unique, touching moment.

Watching my father work all of his life as a bricklayer. He had a very limited education and had an absent father. He married my mother young, had three daughters and worked until around 10 years ago when he finally retired, in the Louisiana heat laying bricks for other people's homes and buildings. I have a Master's degree and work with white collar workers who complain about "hard" work...neither I nor they know what "hard" work is until you've had to do back breaking work bending and lifting bricks and mortar in intense heat day in and day out. My father has had limited "intelligence" book wise but life wise, he is a very intelligent man and a wonderful caregiver. I look at my hands and I know I can never do that type of work but my father raised me on it. Thank you Dad for teaching me the value of persistence, responsibility, hard work and building "my" life.

Many speak of education as awakening. To me, it was more like a long stint in the army; I couldn't begin (my own vocation or whatever) until I got through and out. This is unfortunate, because while we can stimulate our intelligence and replenish our knowledge on and on, perhaps even better once we take root in the world, those straitjacketed by years of education can miss early experiences that later years cannot provide. A moment? Graduating college on a bright flowery day, I wondered if I had any zing left, and I had studied enough to see many dead-end pathways, and so I centered myself on patience. I didn't think I was alone. I recall relentless depletion - not awakening - where it mattered, which of course I hid.
I think the community has to be reaching out to those growing up, taking them seriously, or the education is like rain on a parking lot, and it all washes away. It doesn't matter so much if the teachers "connect" in the insular academic realm; it matters on every other front. If people are always waiting for students to be "complete," they will never become "complete." Sign on door: Ready to participate, but still half ape.

I was flooded with memories when listening to your education show. Being born in 1943 to a traditional Italian family, I was always told that "education was wasted on a girl." So I received a vocational HS degree as a L.P.N. But I really wanted to be a soicial worker, so after marrying and while raising my family I began taking classes at a local community college. Seventeen years after beginning college I earned my masters in social work. Looking back on my journey from the vantage point of retirement, I see much value in my path. A sense of self worth comes from living a fulfilled life, whichever path one chooses to take.

As a little girl, I attended Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in West Orange, NJ. My strongest memories are of my music class with Miss Kilgore. This young, dedicated teacher planted the seed in my soul for my lifelong love for classical music. Each month, she would explore the works and lives of one of the great composers with us. Hearing the Slavonic Dances of Dvorak, Royal Fireworks of Handel and Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens stirred up unprecedented feelings of yearning in me. I can still feel in my fingers the construction paper bookmarks with composer's faces she awarded as prizes if we got a high score on the monthly composer quiz.
Miss Kilgore is the only teacher I've had who explained the concept of "program music" and how composers could wield their tools to conjure up images of animals, war, nobility, etc. in our minds. It was only as an adult, when I realized that not all of my friends knew that Bach wrote during the Baroque era, or that Dvorak was influenced by American folk songs, that I began to understand the great fortune that I had in having a regular music class in elementary school. I am not a musician by profession, but am a dedicated amateur pianist. I believe that the level of commitment that I have to my art energizes me like nothing else in my life, and inspires the people in my life. The seed that Miss Kilgore planted in me over 30 years ago has steadily grown into a hearty plant from which the harvests have been innumerable and immeasurable.

There were two early moments in my education that changed my life. In 4th grade, I was not succeeding at all in most subjects. The teacher, Mrs Snow, determined that I needed glasses and should not be sitting in the back of the room. Then, she took me out of the class room for an hour a day to meet in a very small group, (3) to meet with a reading specialist. The reading teacher understood the young male personality. She told me simply, "when you can read this very thick book and explain it to me, we are done." It was "Treasure Island" by Robert Lewis Stevenson, almost 600 pages. It took me the better part of the winter term to complete. I know she did other activities and with me and when I was done, I could read.

In 8th grade, in the late spring I think the my English teacher was tired of pushing us. She took us to the library late in April. We all had to find a book in the library that she would approve and we had to write and present an oral report. I was struggling to select a book. It was late in the day and very warm. I remember watching the "dust" floating in the rays of the sun and the smell of library books. She came upt to me and dropped a smallish book in front of me and said, "here is a good book for you to read." It was "The Stranger" by Albert Camus; it changed my life in ways that cannot be described in a short essay.

Today, I am an academic dean responsible for Oral Communications, Mass Communications, Theatre, English, English-as-a-Second Language, Reading and Mathematics (my area of expert learning) at a community college. \

I love my work and my job. Without my public education, my parents and my wife, I would not be here today.

Dr. Vernon Kays

The most significant moment in my life happened about 8 years ago. After a protected divorce, my body was in very bad shape from the stress of all that I was having to hold at the time.

Somewhere, somehow I picked up a flyer for "Yoga" Saturday mornings, not too far away from where I was living at the time. What has developed from this is nothing short of extraordinary. At the time I had no idea about the different schools of yoga. The class I attended an Iyengar yoga practice. A very strong practice, with a linegage in Pune, India.

Since that time I have faithfully attended classes and workshops. The practice has changed my body, and also my ability to stay mentally strong when things change in my life. I am now more like a tree with strong roots into the earth - Tadasana.

Next year I am going to Pune - India for a month to further strengthen my practice.
I am deeply grateful for this gift as it has given me a platform to hold onto for the rest of my life.

Shanti
Beverley Martin

This runs deep to who I was and eventually have become.

I was primarily raised by my mother who has mental illness, with my father's family trying to help whenever they could after my dad died. My siblings and I were less than kind to each other since our immediate example was not a healthy one and there was no one refereeing us (think Lord of the Flies). Unfortunately this left each of us vulnerable to one limiting...thing… or another; which for me was my unfulfilled desire to be a full-fledged, multi-media artist; in the performing and visual arts. Throughout grammar school I won awards for drawing and traditional art. Once in middle-school I discovered music and in high school it was acting. I was always in the "smart" classes and we treated as tomorrow's leaders. However, since I had no one to guide me at home, and my siblings (both are older than me), were acting out their own issues, discouragement was visceral. As a result, I became very unfocused, easily distracted, got involved with some wrong elements and eventually dropped out of college. I went back a few times, but in each instance I changed majors, schools, and then life interfered.

At this point I'm, a computer help desk analyst at a law firm and believe enormously in multiple intelligences. I am a mother of two, with a 22 year old son who in the third grade we found out has dyslexia, but at about the age of 4 had a tested i.q. of 121 with an abstract visual thinking score of 141, and so I fought for his right to be educated according to his strengths and for literacy. The NYC public school system said he was entitled to an "appropriate education," which translated into special education warehousing, or failing him through all programs they had available in order for him to qualify for Carter funding if I chose to go that route. This was my on-the-ground education into education theory and advocacy (I later took a couple of education courses at Kingsboro Community College), and when I began to learn what it means to guide a youngster. My seven year old has far fewer challenges.

My husband is now a teacher who was tracked for a vocational education, but despite some overtly disparaging treatment in grammar school, found his way into and finishing college. The contradiction is that he believes college isn't for everyone, and I think that it is a necessary foundation. Both of us agree that having an education does not mean you're smart.

What I find now is elitism in nearly all corners of society. Without a college degree, my views, my findings, research and insights are dismissed as non-credible musings and I have no place at the table when serious discussions about things I have deep passion and valid knowledge about take place in the community. Often, I find suggestions I made that were ignored, later implemented because someone with the right credentials suggested them. Likewise, over the years I have had job opportunity after job opportunity closed to me, despite having a resume that lacks only a college degree, whereas my experience far out-paces those with certifications. There is a huge squandering of human capital that is systemic, frustrates me beyond words, and dare I say, classist.

Thank you.

In summer 1942 I began university work at Indiana University Extension in Indianapolis at the age of seventeen. My goad was to get an M.D., mainly because my mother had tilted me to it. Taking freshman chemistry, I was exposed to a professor who so very clearly and concisely explained the details of atoms, molecules, molecular equilibria that I was stunned by the beauty of it all. His clear even lectures actually gave me a thrill. I will never forget it. From that first exposure to the subject of molecules and their stories, I began my love of molecules. From his conversation with a other faculty members that I overheard, it became clear that he was very unhappy with his position there because he could do no research, nor could he publish. I couldn't an super intelligent man like him being unhappy with his work. I vowed then I would be ecstatic to have such a position some day. After the war, during which I never forgot what I would do when I got home, I went to school, got a Ph.D. in chemistry and finally became a professor. The happy life I've had goes all the way back to that poor disgruntled professor who indoctrinated me with the desire to learn. Charles Stammer

These are the moments rarely celebrated in my day to day run-around, multi-task, diversified interests and worry. In high school English Mrs. McDonald praised my journals, writing prompts, even bought me Writers magazine to submit for publication. Ms. Groff, an H.S. social science teacher once pulled my aside to rave about a term paper I had written about the importance of artistic freedom. She said you "should be a writer".

I've traversed my way working as a plumber, welder, printer, waiter, to film/art student now 75% toward finishing an M.A. in writing studies. Again, my creative promoters have been professors, with much credit to my wife as well, encouraging me to see and cherish passionate talent within myself. God bless Teachers and every gentle encourager.

-j millard

Discussing intelligence and the comparable values of intellectual and physical labor reminded me of Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement with Dorothy Day. Maurin whose family in France worked the land, according to Peter, for over 1,000 years, anticipated your guest's attitudes when he treated the question by asking about the effects of labor on the person (Personalism). To Peter, breaking down production as in the assembly line was soul deadening as the worker did one thing and one thing only and was constantly under pressure to do it faster. An example of what it could mean to work at a job like that is up on You Tube from the play "Sizwe Banzi is Dead" in which a black South African in the days of apartheid recounts the job he left at the Ford Motor Company's plant after the visit of Henry Ford II. Getting back to Peter Maurin, he hoped the Catholic Worker would become a place "where scholars could become workers and workers could become scholars." He saw intelligence, I think, as a virtue to be pursued, rather than a quality that one either possessed or didn't.

I was listening to KUNC from Greeley, CO. August 29, 2010. Your guest was Mike Rose. I just wanted to let someone know how much I appricated his view point. I was a time study observer (time and motion study) at an aerospace manufacturing facility. Many times an engineer would come to watch an operation and comment that it didn't take much intellagence to do work like that. I have a great deal of respect for any one that can operate a machine with the precision required for aerospace hardware. I have watched many times and marveled at the beauty and grace of a turret lathe operator and the attention required for each cut. With music it would rivel a ballet. Thank You for your program

I liked this morning's (8-29) discussion of education. It made me think of the one teacher I revered most. In Junior High this math teacher did not just teach math (give packets of information). He inspired by making us think. Instead of answering questions, he asked questions that helped us discover the answer. I think inspiration, discovery and passion for knowledge are some of things missing in today's eduction. I liked the private investigator, "Columbo" because he asked questions of wonder. "I wonder . . . ?", "Could it be . . .?" Where is the wonder and sense of awe about life, science, history, knowledge? The computer age has reduced us to information instead of inspiration. Just thoughts. Thanks for stimulating them.

One particular moment that stands out in my memory of my definition of self is becoming a mother. I was/am a single mom who had dreams of the "American family". Life did not follow. I embraced every possible moment of motherhood with my son in his infancy and early childhood. Working full-time made this a challenging endeavor, yet worth all the energy I consumed. My son is now 19, a Freshman in college with ambitions to become a teacher. It is so gratifying to see my son develop into a talented young man.

As a 50-something woman who is semi-retired after about 4 careers, it's hard to put my finger on exact life-shaping moments. In fact, they continue every day. Your interview with Mike Rose was rich with ideas that fascinate me, ideas about individuality, humanity, talent, and creativity. I am passionate about these issues.

You see, I am a baby-boomer who grew up with undiagnosed learning and attention differences. I used to be severely inhibited, although I got by for most of my life through hard work and a fairly pleasant demeanor. When I was 40 I learned about my cognitive style, which got me on a path to learn about the mind and personalities (to put it generally). For the first time I understood why I sometimes appeared to be stupid. That experience opened up tremendous opportunities for me to fulfill my dream of helping others in the same situation, mostly children.

Now, in the past year I've been working hard to conquer the deepest levels of "self unsteem" that have remained with me for my whole life. Working with a professional, I was able to make many gains which have enabled me to do things I've never done before, things like speak and perform in front of groups and feel comfortable in crowds. My appreciation for the time to pursue these challenges then led me to seek out a church, and I discovered a lively and committed group of people I am happy to worship with every week. I am now working hard to acquire and practice traits like humility, gentleness, and true understanding.

So my journey has been life-altering many times over, and I'm not finished. Through programs like Being, I am constantly learning about life and people and how we relate to a spiritual being, each other, and our planet. This interview with Prof. Rose was enlightening on many levels. I was particularly interested in his comments on the "tensions" between those who learn from books and those who learn through experience. This is helping me to understand a little about the polarization of American citizens over political issues, a situation that disturbs me greatly.

Finally, I wanted to note that the Rose interview dovetails beautifully with Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligenes. He has identified 8 (maybe 9?) different kinds of "smarts:" Linguistic, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist. He has also written on Five Kinds of Minds needed by leaders of the future: Disciplinary, Synthesizing Creating, Respectful, and Ethical. His work is outstanding.

There is so much to learn and so many more life-changing moments to experience. Thank you for the shows and the opportunity to reflect on them.

As for the actual "Mind at Work" scientifically speaking, if the following two activities are not occuring, you would not even know another person was in the room with you unless you were actually touching. Those two things are: Light reflecting off an item and entering your eyes, giving you awareness an object is within your presence; and/or the item making a movement so as to generate vibrating air molecules to resonate on the hearing mechanism in the head giving you awareness there is something there. NEITHER reflected light waves and vibrating air molecules contain special little mechanisms for conveying wisdom, knowledge, or intellect. Everything is simply assigning a value to the reflected light images and the vibrating air molecules. People place a value they have been taught to place on the item; and occasionally someone breaks free of the conventional wisdom to assign a different value on an item.

People in manual labor positions have one or two things going on based on what they have been taught by elitists: either a resignation that they aren't going to have what the rest of society is giving themselves, so they make do with the limited resources the elitists make available to them; or within them is a true desire to not play the elitist game and find and live out the life and heart of a servant.

Yes, there is something far more noble IN manual labor; because as can be seen: the graduates of the institutions of alledged higher education, haven't done anything to resolve the woes of the species; only succeeding in establishing a financial mechanism which perpetuates thinking and generating new products as being the ideal standards of success.

If you desire to truely edify, don't continue to glorify unjust servitude; even if manual labor is honorable. Speak of those things which promote the imbalance in society and maybe the history books will reveal you as a man of character; not just another proponent of "the process."

I reiterate, in the most basic of terms, these are just black on a white background electronic hashmarks made at a time who knows when. If they were in another language and you didn't understand them, they would not exert any influence over you, but the content would be the same. They have no special power. If a power or emotion is given to them, it is solely based on what the reader has learned to assign to the certain sequences of hashmarks. Yes, this says emotions are learned, too.

You're not going to get all emotional over hashmarks, are you?

What is the value you place on the following:

Consider nature’s example of a sea. First, all elements of this world, and flora and fauna, have no use for man’s words and they would continue to exist even if mankind had never existed on the planet. So words are for mankind alone. These words are seen as in a cycle of source and destination, much like nature gathers up moisture from a sea for it to fall as rain down upon fields to produce a crop to feed men. For man it is their words which are collected up to go forth to form desirable agreements which go out to reign over the efforts of individuals, whose fruits of their labors return to sustain and support the group.

As with any lake or sea, when the headwaters streaming into a lake or sea are not pure, the lake or sea cannot be pure, even if that which is not pure is diluted by the multitude of other elements.

Who controls the headwaters of words which feed back into the sea of humanity? Large or small societies gather up their words and submit them to their leaders, leaders who act as dams to hold back, advance, and even through additives of their own, change the health of the society.

In the macrocosm, the words which brought about war thousands of years ago, are the same words which produce war today. If they are not removed at some place in the cycle, by the only entities responsible and capable of removing them due to the nature of the society’s governing structure, they will always be there as a constant compromise in the health of society.

In war, what the history books have revealed is an occasional group of sea dwellers, so full of the words of war which have been returned unto them through repetitous and imitated educational pursuits, like fish following their own school of thought, as coming up out of the sea to crash down upon all of society.

I will never forget Mr. Creel, my 7th grade teacher at an inner school in Portland Oregon. Having been home schooled in the 4th grade I had breezed through grade school on what I had learned up to meeting Mr. Creel. I looked around the room at my new classmates and thought to myself, "I'm going to get straight A's in this class easy." It was all he could do to keep the "boys" (all larger and heavier than him) in their seats and not acting up. This was my second public school, but my first experience of being with kids my age who weren't totally focused on learning.

Mr. Creel gave us an assignment to do a term paper. I decided to do it on the planets and went to the encyclopedia and plagarized mercilessly. I put every planet on a separate page, even though it may be only a four inch paragraph. I remember feeling that I hadn't done my best. When I handed my paper in ON TIME I was only one of three who did (class of about 30). I wasn't proud of what I'd done but I had met the assignment in my mind. When I got it back with the grade D- my mouth dropped and I asked, "Why? I turned it in on time and it has enough pages." His answer has lived with me the rest of my life. He said,"Connie, don't think that I am going to grade you against the rest of the students in this class. I'm going to grade you against what you are capable of doing. Don't short yourself by comparing yourself with those around you. Do the assignment again." I was speechless at the time but took it home, had a long conversation with my father and redid the assignment and got an A-.

I am so grateful for that moment when Mr. Creel stood up to me and told me what was right just as he had to do with those out of control boys day after day. I was a quicker learner and took what he said to heart. Going forward it was him and me talking about how well I did on the assignments and those around me were a blur.

When I was in my thirties I tried to locate Mr. Creel to thank him and let him know what a difference he had made in my life. I found out that he had left teaching about three years after I was in his class and died of cancer at an early age, probably in his forties. It was a great disappointment that I couldn't locate him.

Now almost thirty years later I am really getting closer to being the person I always knew I could be. Maybe I wasn't such a quick study after all but I know I would never be where I am today without Mr. Creel.

The Meaning of Intelligence program with Mike Rose provoked me to share a desire. I can relate to Professor Rose's story of being the first family member to attend college and the fortune to acquire nurturing motivation from professors. This is a concept described in the Do Good Gauge. I believe the formula of a successful composition 101 course can be simulated with internet technology. I describe the formula in the Do Good Gauge website. Much of the site is a poor attempt to engage dialog to refine and share the idea. Key to the concept is coaching, revision, and public measurement. The goal is to provide a forum where an author/student is provided a constructive means of refining a point of view. The reader is provided an ingenious opportunity to participate in the public dialog using respectful discourse. The author/student is provided the means to weed out dysfunctional criticism which distracts the development of a point of view. May your journey be filled with good, Scott Nesler The Do Good Gauge A Historical Perspective of the Do Good Gauge : http://www.dogoodgauge.com/site/DoGoodGauge/page_contents/display/127 The Do Good Gauge Google Gadget : http://www.google.com/ig/adde?moduleurl=http://www.dogoodgauge.com/site/...

The August 29 program “Speaking of Faith guest, Michael Rose spoke of the tension between “practical experiences” and “book learning.” I was fortunate enough to attend a special high school in New York known as Brooklyn Technical High School.

As an African American, I was raised in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, a predominantly Jewish, Italian neighborhood. My mother and father encouraged learning of all subjects. My father had a saying, “make every day a school day.” My mother had a junior high school education and was a part time domestic. My father had a high school education, during a time when most American did not graduate from high school. He worked as a presser in small tailor shops. With little income, my mother help pay for all four children’s piano lessons, by inviting the piano teacher to have dinner with the family every Tuesday evening. She read stories and poems to us.

My youth was filled with sports, building model airplanes and experimenting with a prize chemistry set that my mother “wangled” out of my father for my birthday. By junior high school, my mind was made up to take the test for Brooklyn Tech. I had no doubt that I would get into Tech, as I had always been assigned to the “smart” classes; however, my grade advisor had other thoughts. Despite my grades, she continued to tried to steer me into a vocational high school. In the eighth grade I took the entrance examination and was certain I would be accepted. A few weeks later I was devastated by the news that I was not accepted. My ninth year was filled with uncertainty and self doubt. I knew I didn’t want to go to my neighborhood high school, but I was certain I didn’t wanted to suffer the humiliation of a second rejection at the only high school I had ever wanted to attend. I had delayed my decision until the last minute, and was advised that I had to make a decision immediately. I decided to take the exam again, and went to my new advisor to apply. It was in that meeting that my advisor made a discovery. She discovered that my record had been altered to imply that I was a discipline problem. She knew me and knew that wasn’t true. She advised me that I should have my parents meet with the principal to let him know that they knew what had happen. There was no question of who had made the change to my records. I took the exam again, and was accepted to start in September 1951.

It was four and a half years of joy! I learned how to learn at Brooklyn Tech. Tech’s curricula demanded that we should have hands on experience as well as a vigorous academic experience in the science, the technologies, and the arts.
I was initially interested chemistry when I entered Tech. We had two years before we had to pick a major. In those two years I was torn between my two loves, chemistry and aeronautics. But I was like a kid in a candy store. All of the different technologies were pulling on me. But before I reached the point of making a selection, I had a full program with a mixture of practical and academic studies.

In our freshman year we were required to take a pattern making shop project. We had to construct a pattern of a jig, known to all Technites as the wooden “step-v block.” It was crucial that you constructed it with specific tolerances, because in your sophomore year you would use that pattern in the foundry shop to create a sand mold to pour in melted cast iron. If your measurements were off, the sand mold would crumple when the pattern was withdrawn from the mold. A poorly constructed pattern had serious consequences a year later in the foundry.
This connection of the practical with the academic continued through students’ course work at Tech.

Students in the Architectural Course were required to construct a two-story house within a two-story shop room. Students in the Structural Course had to assemble a structure consisting of beams and columns connected by rivets, using strength of materials theories. I selected the Aeronautics Course. In this besides studing aerodynamics, we had to construct airplane parts. My aluminum pontoon bulkhead, still hangs on my den’s bookcase after all these years. In Engine Shop we were broken up into teams and assigned to a radial airplane engine. We were required to disassemble the engine and learning every aspect of its parts. When we thought we knew it all, we would call over the instructor. He would quiz us. If we missed three questions, we would have to reassemble the engine and start all over learning as we again disassembled it.

Although the majority of the students went on to college, there was a College Prep course for those students who could not decide a major. The students in this course had to take chemistry in either French or German.

The liberal arts were not short changed. My freshman year English teacher described my writing skills as “abominable.” She gave me an assignment, over the Christmas holidays. I was to write a short piece, each day, based on any subject, a movie I saw or an event I witnessed. It was a struggle, especially during the holidays. It paid off years later when I got two short pieces published in a literary magazine. It was at Tech that I discovered Shakespeare, Sinclair Lewis, among others. As demanding as our academic schedule were, we fielded better than average sport teams.

Forty-nine years after graduating I attended my first Alumni Homecoming. I didn’t know what to expect of the students. Were they as dedicated to the school? Were they of the same high quality of the students of my day? I was pleasantly surprised. I saw the same light in their eyes when they talked about their subjects. They talked about how they were using sophisticated computers to take measurements and make calculations. The proud looks in the eyes of the visiting alums were obvious. We teased them and said we did all that using slide rules. That was six years ago, and I have not missed a homecoming since. I’ve learned that we have the largest public school alumni association in the country. We’ve raised more than 10 million dollars over a ten-year period. We have a new goal in the 21st century, “21 in 21." I’m told that we are more than half way there. Many of our alums have done well in a variety of fields, e.g., Leonard Riggio, founder of Barnes & Noble bookstore chain, C.B. Wang, founder of Computer Associates, and owner of the New York Islanders hockey team. Riggio put it this way, “I graduated from NYU and from Brooklyn Tech. When I meet an NYU alum, I say ‘ho-hum’ but when I meet a Technite my eyes light up!”
We have had people from other schools asking our alumni how to go about creating such an association. It’s the wrong question. The association was created by what took place in those classrooms so many years ago. The teachers wanted all Technites to shine, regardless of their race. During my class’s 50th anniversary, a group of us were walking through the halls reminiscing on events that had occurred over 50 years ago. The wife of one of the alums asked, “ How do you guys remember with such details events over 50 years ago, while I can’t remember anything about my high school experiences.” I said, “ When you are fourteen years old, and you are selected to attend such a school, where all kinds of gadgets and instruments are at your disposal, and you know that by the time you have completed your freshman year, that you will know how most things in the world are made and how they work, and you knew that that would be more than most people will ever know, you don’t forget those experiences.

I found Professor Rose's interview to be very interesting because in my own life I moved from a "blue collar" career as an automotive machinist to a software engineer and now I also do some contracting work applying high performance coatings.

As a child I did very poorly in school. I don't know if they failed me or if I simply failed them. But I had no interest in what I was being taught, though I was an advanced reader. A decade and a half later some friends encouraged me to attend community college when I demonstrated my self taught computer programming skills. While somewhat intimidated because of my previous experiences I worked hard and graduated with high honors. But my self examination has convinced me that while I'm pretty intelligent (the Mensa tests put me within striking distance of becoming a member) for some reason I have a hard time with standard academic approaches to learning. I'm very poor at memorizing.

What works well for me is to attack a problem until I have an in-depth understanding of it and can make sense of how the various pieces fit together and interact. Perhaps this comes from years of working with mechanical things. But perhaps surprisingly this approach to problem solving has worked pretty well for me as a software engineer where we have lots of small pieces that can be decomposed right down to the machine level but are fit together like tinker-toys to create great intellectual edifices. Ultimately though it could be argued that this mental approach is more of "hand based" than "book bases." I've always thought that to be interesting.

The down side to all this is that many of the things I'm curious about would really be easier to understand if I were better at memorization.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the interview and intend to spent some time reading Mike Rose's blog.

Eric Marsh

The Broadcast that I listened to was called, “The Meaning of Intelligence”. The interviewer was Mike Rose, and he is a professor at UCLA. He has written a few books and is interested then the American culture. Rose talks a little bit about how he thinks it is crucial to have hands-on experience to get through life, rather than just having a college degree. I think that he makes such a valid point because you can be extremely book smart, but have no common sense and no common knowledge of your surroundings and have a hard time getting through life. I think that some people who are extremely educated and have degrees are not as hard of workers as someone who is more physically capable of doing something.

My favorite part of the interview was when Rose and Tippett were talking about Rose’s mother. He said that she never thought anything different of doing the housework and putting food on the table for her kids. She loved it, but it took a toll of her body physically. Rose then goes on to say and the people in this world who are the unhappy are the rich lawyer and the rich neurosurgeon. The ones who are the most unhappy make the most money and spend the most time away from home. I have had personal experience with this because my dad used to work from dawn until dusk. He never realized the toll that it was taking on his body and his own family. Everyone was unhappy because he was never home, but yet he was making decent amount of money. It didn’t matter though because the money that he was making did not make us any happier.

Rose had another valid point in saying that we remember things about others that impacted us. Whether it was something negative or positive. We might remember something that someone did for us, something that made life easier on us or something that hurt out feelings. We are able to learn things and become more intellectual without realizing it. Just like I said before, through experience. We learn little things everyday that we catch on to and store in our memory, then use it later on, without even realizing it. Intelligence is a very interesting and almost mischievous thing, because it is secret.

Heaven Is Within You

Driving for home, it is late and I am tired. My heart begins to vibrate. I am getting close to Elsewhere, that place where my understanding shifts. I can feel it coming.

What's this? The headlights illuminate a large bird lying in the road. Her wing points straight up at the moon, signaling like a flag. Could the wind move her wing that way? I turn my truck around to check on her.

She is unconscious. I pick her up and weigh the situation. She's about the size of a cat. Hollow bones and powder-soft feathers make her look big, but she is very light. Nothing appears to be broken, however, she is not out of the woods yet. Intent on seeing her in more light, I gently set her through the window of my camper top.

At home, I lift a lump of bird out of my truck and hold my bundle close to my chest. I wonder if she's still alive. My dingo dog, Jake, welcomes me home with his usual song and dance. When he gets a whiff of what's in my arms, he doesn't consider himself as the source of my trepidation. Must be the bird, right? She's the new variable. He uses his power voice to control the situation. It's so loud it stuns small animals.

"Let me tell you how I think this should go," he hollers as he stands right beside me.

"Shhhh!" My ears are ringing. "What bird in its right mind stands still for this?"

As if on cue, his intensity spurs the owl to heroic effort. An armful of wild-eyed raptor awakens.

I'm mortified! Why did I think I could get away with this? My nerves are frazzled, Intuition becomes a tumultuous, heart-pounding intensity. A surge of adrenaline shoots up my spine and detonates my focus. Fragmented and paralyzed, I am suspended between all I know about birds and all I don’t know about owls.

That beak is made for tearing flesh. Those toes are equipped with daggers. Is this bird strong enough to put up a fight? Am I her most immediate obstacle? Should I let her go? What if I'm doing everything wrong?

"Let her go. I can help you," Jake dances around my legs. "We'll team up against that monster in your arms."

All I can think of is the pain involved with making a mistake in judgment with an upset bird. I imagine the things a large bird can do with soft fingertips, eyes, and lips. Jake doesn't know how he's amplifying my emotions. Yang dog!

Birds are yin. Females are yin. Darkness is yin. I refuse to give in. I hand over my puzzle to the Silence, "How am I going to lead the supernatural being in my arms and the hellion at my feet simultaneously?"

The moment takes on an endless quality. The Silence stretches through time, holds my heart, and catches my breath. It entangle myself with it and squeeze my mind into a space in the world that is humbler, sweeter, and smaller than a bird. I feel light and easy despite my inner turmoil. Now that I'm centered, I'm suddenly aware of all of the things that are not happening. Amidst the cacophony of mental and physical noise, my spirit begins to rise.

Come to think of it, I'm the best chance this bird has! I relax into the body feel I've gained through years of experience meditating with birds, filter out my best intentions, and focus on what I'm doing right. I choose the best future and project it forwards taking my friends with me. Inspired, I breathe into my body again.

As the three of us pass deeper into the shadows, I reconcile things with Jake. "You've never met a winged creature like this, little buddy. Follow me and we're going to learn a thing or two." My adolescent wolf adores my softness so much he easily bends his will to mine and falls in quietly behind me. "Good boy." I assure him.

Then, I send our guest a dose of chi. She hides in my arms. Clearly, she is frightened, but she is not looking to make a getaway. Her tenderness buoys me up. I gently press her close to my chest to comfort and contain her. Time expands again. We relax.

As I take my owl into the house, I think of my own birds. Everything's a power struggle with them. Parrots in cages bite to gain dominance or to defend themselves. They are ever-mindful that they are prey animals and keenly aware that birds who can't hide their weaknesses do not survive long. This programming makes taming them a struggle, so how does one circumvent spending hours of gentleness? What's more, this barred owl is a predator and a loner. Does she even have social skills? I might get this bird to follow me if I find out.

Inside a safe space, I become a steady perch. I support my elbows on the floor. My owl presents her back to me. This simple gesture is beyond my ken. No parrot I know would be so brave. I marvel, "Has this bird ever been afraid of anything? What must her life be like?"

I shadow her for awhile to see. Her innocence feels very much like trust. I revel in it. I walk my talk and keep my face very close to her head while we sit together. We are intimate like old friends. It's easy to pretend whatever I want. Her back is to me.

I use her proximity to reinforce my bravery and to get down to business. I scan all the non-verbal signals she sending about how badly she is hurt. How does she hold her body? What condition are her feathers in? I look for the slightest indications. Does she feel threatened? Am I too close? Should I avoid looking directly into her eyes?

Judging by the grip she has on my wrist, she has a few questions for me too. Her talons dig in deeper. Her head begins turning my way. She's bracing herself for what she is about to see. She is turning around. She's turning around! We’re about to meet for the first time!

My heart pounds loudly in my ears. I have no idea what to expect. Since I'm the first human she's met, I wonder how this will go. How will she read my intentions? We have no time for translation. Will she take direction from me?

I sit within striking distance and close my eyes. How else can I show her where she stands? Now that I’m completely vulnerable, sitting in her presence this way internalizes my struggle. A new adrenaline rush ignites my heart. I've never felt so engulfed in flames without trying to escape. I use my mind to direct my chi back down into my dantien and turn my fear to smouldering embers. The sudden release of tension catapults me into a state of heightened awareness. I hold all of my diametrically opposed emotions in limbo and free the energy.

Ahhh! This is the moment I've waited for all my life. I feel a rush of unconditional love. Intensity and detachment strike a balance, the gates between us crumble. It's the most incredible feeling I've ever felt. We are one! I open my eyes and almost burst out laughing.

My owl’s reply is impeccable. Her soft response is unmistakable. Her eyes are closed too! We touch spirit to spirit. She slips inside my head with me. There are no barriers. The thrill is sublime. I feel electric! I share my beauty and vibrant strength with her. She takes it! She gives it! The energy moves between us. I've just mind-melded with a wild bird! My heart pounds through my chest as if I am empty, but I have never felt so full. Nothing could prepare me for the euphoria of it.

More than simultaneous surrender, I catch a glimpse of the infinite transcending even species. For a moment, I am a shaman crossing the valley of death meeting my totem animal--one pure spirit wearing two masks. Complexity melts into simplicity. Timelessness blankets us. I watch that single moment expand until all the moments of my life line up behind it making sense in a new way.

My wrist pulses with pain. I am acutely aware that asking my owl to shift her weight will end our love affair, but it’s necessary. The pressure of her razor sharp claws marks my skin. I hold my breath and try to simply reposition her. Exerting even the slightest force brings out her wild nature. She lets me know my compassion may be weightless, but my willpower isn't. She takes her cue, leaps out of my hands, falls into the corner, flaps against the wall, and loses a few feathers. Heaven fades as Timelessness melts back into linear time.

I scrutinize her body and watch her wings work. She’s breathing well. No broken bones, no blood, bright eyes. I'm certain this owl hit a car while she was flying, not the other way around. Scooping her up again in my arms, I walk out into the moonlight. Somewhere between boldness and reckless abandon, I take a final liberty and kiss her wild, symbolic wings. I can feel the electricity in my fingertips. I can feel it in the wind moving my hair. I am much bigger now than I could ever be by myself. A deep sense of gratitude enfolds me for all the perfect synchronicity that has already occurred throughout time to allow this miracle to happen.

She slips back into the darkness.

All summer long I listen to a barred owl in the woods behind my house. Low and sweet, she calls, reminding me how to surrender. I am listening with every nerve, every pore to a language I have always wanted to hear. What she taught me in a few moments, I will never forget.

Native Americans put feathers in their hair as a sign of their brave deeds. On special occasions, I wear the ones that owl gave me. They dangle from my ear on a tiny chain. They may look like feathers, but they feel like wings in my heart. Those feathers remind me how I can affect the world. In a moment of grace, I saw it for myself on many levels. What gift could be more precious? The one I give or the one I take? Now, I see, they are both are the same.

"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses." ~ Chinese proverb

In all the years I was in school no one ever asked me for a definition of education. And no one ever offered one. Thank you for this conversation. Another one of your best shows, Krista.

As a college professor (and a graduate of the PhD school in which Dr. Rose teaches), I think Mike Rose has missed one important point: there is a calculated effort, esp. in the US, to minimize/denigrate work, esp. any work that makes us THINK. Teachers, professors, artists, social scientists, scientists, etc are all under political fire because work is too suspiciously aligned to civic engagement, something we're being increasingly directed AWAY from doing . I wish Dr. Rose had spoken to this issue.

I got my Masters in Counseling back in 85. Over the years I had a most supportive partner who helped me go back to school to get a certification in massage therapy and then more intensive studies in CranioSacral and Somatoemotional Therapies. I was able to combine the practices and work now with people who have experienced trauma. I love my work, but the community I live in does not find the value of the work. Most of the patients I see comes from beyond my immediate community. I have taught in places as far away as Russia, Lativia and Canada, but the most resistance I get for my work comes within my own country/community.
I have more education that many PhD friends, but I even carry a deep seated discounting of my education.
Listening to this conversation today has helped me to discover a new appreciation for the "intelligence" I have always had, but may not be necessarily "degreeable".
I have learned and I practice using my hands and my mind and even my spirit to hold a space that helps a trauma victim safely access those areas in themselves that need healing. There is actual science behind this practice, but I have also had the wonderful opportunity to experience the deeply complexity of this work.

A very intelligent friend of mine, now in his 70s, spent time in a one-room school. Many ages & abilities were in the class. The teacher was just the orchestrator, and the students taught themselves & each other. Older students and faster students taught those who had not learned a particular lesson yet.
Teaching helps the learning process:
watch one, then do one, then teach one.
My friend said it was the best educational experience he ever had.

unbelievable....in a good way

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania on a farm. As the oldest girl in a large family I had plenty of chores. Fortunately, we grew up without a TV and all had a love of reading, and also fortunately, our teachers read aloud to us. My fourth grade teacher at Newberry Elementary, Mr. Ronald E. Riese, would read aloud a single chapter from a great book, pausing to put the story in context. He never read an entire book - he simply baited our hooks, and we'd all clamor to get out hands on the book, keeping track of who had it and who would get it next. One day he read the whitewashing chapter from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I was mesmerized. He explained why the treasures Tom was offered for the privilege for whitewashing had value: "...a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar – but no dog – the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash." He explained candied orange peel as the candy of the times to 35 kids who were well acquainted with Hershey bars. I got ahold of the book and couldn't stop reading. I read it over and over. (I still read it over and over.) Finally, when I went to jr. high school, I paid a visit to the library during my first week and asked the librarian if she'd ever heard of this author, Mark Twain, who had written Tom Sawyer. She laughed and gave me a book she was about to discard - a collection of Twain's stories that included Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawer, Detective, Notes of an Idle Excursion, The Stolen White Elephant, and Encounter with an Interviewer (still one of my favorites). Eventually I stumbled upon Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and began the process of unlearning many preconceived notions I had picked up in my childhood. And reading Twain's autobiography told all: it was all real! It had all happened to him and his friends in a town called Hannibal, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi River. Like my heroes, Sam Clemens and Huck Finn, I dropped out of school. But I always wanted to be a teacher (thanks to people like Mr. Riese and the other inspiring teachers I had known), so in my thirties I tackled college. It took me two years and nine months to earn my BA (while working 60 hours a week and raising a family - but work ethic was something I'd learned on the farm and in those elementary classrooms). I even earned a PhD at the University of Iowa in two years (while working three jobs) by applying the same work ethic. I was offered a position at my alma mater, Stetson University, where I taught and earned tenure, but in the meantime, I had been to Twain's Hannibal many, many times. It tugged at me like the moon on the tides. I volunteered at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in the summer of 2006 to teach in their first ever teacher workshops. And I knew I belonged there. Quincy University, across the river, offered me a position, so I gave up a tenured spot at my alma mater, moved to Hannibal, taught at QU, and began volunteering at the museum in my spare time. A year later the director took a position elsewhere, and I found myself in the ridiculously serendipitous position of holding two of the best jobs a person could have: teaching future teachers at QU and directing operations at the Twain museum.

Since then I have written and co-produced "Mark Twain: Words & Music," a double-CD that tells Twain's life in spoken word and song. It features Jimmy Buffett as Huck Finn, Garrison Keillor as the narrator, and Clint Eastwood as Twain. Singers inlcude Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, and others, including the producer, Carl Jackson, a childhood friend I had not seen in decades. Carl and I lost touch when he went to work for Glen Campbell, but I had followed his career and knew if such a project could be made, he would be the one to produce it. We dedicated the CD to our parents, who taught us to love good music, and to Mr. Riese, who opened the door to my lifelong passion for Sam Clemens (aka: Mark Twain). There have been too many projects to count (animated videos with my students, articles, books, etc.), but the CD feels like I have made a little mark myself and provided something that will help people reacquaint themselves with Twain and get in touch with their inner-Huckleberry.

I also recently collaborated on a book, Down the Mississippi: A Modern-day Huck on America's River Road, with Neal Moore, a CNN iReporter who canoed the entire river collecting positive stories along the way. Twain's voice chimes in throughout as something of a commentary on Neal's experiences, which include the dance of the Ojibwe (who named the river) to meeting inmates at "The Farm" in Angola, LA, a former plantation that now serves as the nation's largest maximum security prison. Twain had something to say on every subject, and some things never change. Yes, I have more exciting Twain projects in the making, and I will approach all with love and respect and a commitment to work hard and do my best. I try to tell my preservice teachers at Quincy University how Mr. Riese changed my life because he introduced his students to so much great literature and provided background knowledge we lacked - and then he inspired us to think and learn for ourselves. We knew how to solve problems and be creative. We knew how to make something from nothing. We never gave up. He touched so many lives, and even now when I go to high school reunions and find classmates from Newberry Elementary, they all agree that he was the best teacher ever. Thank you, Mr. Riese.

I never really fit in during my public school days. I was tracked into the poor readers program before anybody could ask whether or not I could see the board or hear the teacher. However, after high school I found a home and a peace in higher education. I excelled in college and often was more well read than my professors. Recently, due to interests in social justice, I entered an education graduate program. At the beginning of a class this semester, the professor asked to name 5 Nobel Laureates, 5 of our K-12 teachers and 5 Supreme Court Justices. The point which she was trying to make is that teachers are more influential than judges and experts, yet I could not name 5 teachers and named 5 judges and Nobel prize winners quite easily. When the professor heard this she looked at me and said: "And you think you want to be a teacher?" So, again I find myself an outsider because I have no interest in recreating a system which sees education which works for some and ignores others as pragmatic. Furthermore I see nothing pragmatic about the pedagogy of J. Dewey, J.S. Mill and A. Smith which have dominated American education other than they are practical for those who benefit from them.

Christa,
I listened to Mr. Rose today; second time. His assertion differentiating the hand fields from these of the abstracted field didi not ring true this time.
I am uncertain that there is a field that does not include a vocational or hand work. Take for example medicine, doctors work with their hands, architects build models and draw by hand or on a key board. Even the professions that were considered by the Greeks as the noble fields, painting, sculpture, and music included hand work.
I simply pose the question that the high fields have to do with somthing else.
Saf Fahim
Principal
Archronica Architects
Fahim@archronica.com

We were lucky to have excellent teachers (English, Science, Math, and History) in our small town school in Greenville, Kentucky. I remember Ms. Nancy Ford teaching history about 1972 and her lectures about the turmoil in the US at that time (Rock music, Drugs, Summer of Love, Women's Equality, Kent State, Race Equality, Moon Landing, Race Riots, "Silent Spring", Unions, Communism, and Vietnam). She didn't tell us what to think, but made us discuss, think and justify what we said. She challanged us and questioned us.

The lesson I remember from her most was that "my rights ended at the tip of my (her) nose". This has allowed me to see other's viewpoints. It has served me well.

I have thought of this recently when hearing complaints about lost freedoms. I note there is nothing these people cannot do today that they could legally do yesterday. Yet much of what they want will lessen my (and their) future freedom. Hyperbolic hypocrisy abounds today.

The continual process of combining small schools into super schools for cost savings saddens me. There is no community. There is little focus on the students. You get what you pay for. We have made factories to produce mediocre Americans that care only to feed their faces, watch TV, and suck resources from the Earth as fast as possible.

Correction, my history teacher was Linda Ford, not Nancy. Nancy was our math teacher.

I dislike the word "education" which means "leading out" and implies that student should simply be a follower of the teacher. The word "teaching" too makes the student a passive player in the process of education. I prefer the word "learning" and my goal in life, at age 65, is to continue learning something new every day til the day I die (and, boy, won't that be a special learning day). As an IT/Accounting Consultant, I see a lot of younger people who have a good education but no love of learning, little intellectual curiosity, and minimal persistence/patience in the pursuit of knowledge. The best "teachers" in my life were the ones who inspired me to keep studying beyond the class day assignments and even beyond graduation. I believe too many students today simply want to become credentialed so they can finally say when they get their diplomas, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks." The real educator will "lead out" from his/her students the passion and joy of life-long learning and a desire to be in a class by themselves.

Education, special moments: It was in Philosophy of Religion. The very personable Professor taught us how we perceive, the Triangle of Meaning. That was at Smith College.

I was born outside of the US on a small island with a good educational system. I never attended school there, however, coming to American just before my fourth birthday. As far as I was concerned, life in America was lonely, frightening and filled with abuse. While I really liked school, my otherness (accented speech, dweebish fashion sense and lack of money and connections conspired to make me an outcast at school and throughout the neighborhood.

My hardworking parents were rarely at home. Starting at age 4, they left me in the care of a brother who was three years older. His frustrations with being bullied in school caused him to be physically abusive.

On many school days we hid in our respective bedrooms to avoid the stress of school. I can recall roaming the halls of my elementary school desperately trying to remember my classroom number. When I finally found the room, the teacher questioned whether I belonged there since she didn't recall seeing me before in her class.

In 10th grade, after a semester with an amazing English teacher, I found the courage to ask if I could continue as her student in the upcoming semester. I had to ask because her only available English class that worked in my schedule was A-levels and I (according to the registrar) was a C-level student. I could only be admitted to this class with her permission.

I asked and she agreed with a very clear stipulation. "I'm not concerned with whether or not you can do the work. You just have to do the work!"

Needless to say, I worked hard and maintained grades in the B+ to A- range for the rest of my time in high school so she wouldn't have a reason to regret her decision.

I cried (and sometimes sobbed) throughout Prof. Rose's interview because I was reminded of Mrs. Anglin and how her very direct words and encouragement completely transformed the trajectory of my life.

Thank you for a great interview about intelligence. This is a story about my 7th grade Spanish teacher, Mr Glaze. Most of the girls who took Mr Glaze's class did it because they were in love with him and wanted to be close to the object of their affection. He married when we were in the 8th grade and I thought some of these heartbroken girls might throw themselves off the roof of the school. It turned out that I, along with a few others, actually liked Spanish. The next year Mr Glaze taught Level II Spanish, a mix of 8th and 9th graders. When six of us went to the 9th grade, he gave up his one-hour free period to teach just us Level III. A couple of years later he transferred to my high school and I was able to take another class from him. The summer I graduated, I received a scholarship to attend school in Guadalajara and live with a family. I consider this one of the peak experiences of my life and Mr Glaze was behind it all. I continued with Spanish in college and, being a nurse practitioner from Texas, I always worked in settings where I had plenty of opportunity to speak this beautiful language. I took in refugees from Guatemala and Peru and another graduate student from Peru lived with me while attending university. In my work, I got hired before other equally qualified people who didn't speak Spanish. Being able to really communicate with other people in their own language, and in some of their most intimate situations, has shaped my life and added to it in ways I never could have imagined when I was young. Simply put, I owe all of this to Mr Glaze. When we left the 9th grade, the six of us gave him a little trophy in recognition of the awesome job he did. That trophy pales in comparison to what he gave me.

So glad I downloaded this podcast...as a RN that attended a three year hospital based nursing school, Mike Rose, just re-emphasized that my education was so well rounded. We had classroom based training but we were on the floor with patients almost everyday. After 20 years of nursing, I returned to college and received a business degree. It is still my healthcare training and experience though that provides me more success in business than the book learning I received. I learned to prioritize, how to handle "crisis" and how to read people. I know people that are farmers that could teach life biology, people that are construction workers that understand the engineering required to make a structure that will withstand hurricanes. And yes, my hairdresser knows my hair is super fine and needs special care to cut. The waiter at my favorite watering hole that knows I switch from alcohol to club soda after two drinks. I would like to give them the title of VP of care.

I really enjoyed this segment with Mr. Rose. In my family, I am the first person top graduate high school. My parents were second generation French Canadians with grammar school educations working ion the Textile mills in Lawrence Massachusetts. In my mother's world view, a good education meant a high school diploma and a trade--we were poor people and that's what poor people aspired to.She sent me to a Catholic high school. I was always good with my hands--art and carpentry-- so the plan was for me to be a carpenter after high school. I wanted to take an art class, but there were no art teachers at Central Catholic so I took Mechanical Drawing instead. I breezed through two years in four months and then completed the Engineering Drawing course from Northeastern University in the next three months,. At the end of the year I was doing architectural drawings for a new church that was to be built in N.H. My instructor was Brother Pious Xavier--a former Navy enlisted man who took an interest in me. He asked me if I was going to exhibit something st the school science fair. I said no because I had no intention of going to college. The next day there appeared on my desk a book titled "Math Projects for Science Fairs." I thumbed through it and found a section on conic sections. What intrigued me was an elliptical pool table that had interesting properties. A ball placed in one of the two focal radii and hit against the edge will go through the other focal radii and asymptotically reach the major axis--the sum of the focal radii of an ellipse is always a constant I went to the city dump and collected orange crates and built the pool table--and it worked. I then built inclined planes and cam gears and cones of all sorts. Once I finished, I derived the equations for them all. I did exhibit and I subsequently won first prize in Mathematics at the Mass State Science Fair at MIT in 1958 and the Archdiocese of Boston Science Fair that same year. I was awarded a scholarship to Northeastern University where I studied Mathematics. I served in the Army as an Officer for twenty years, where I earned two Masters degrees and after retirement I earned a PhD and 28 years on at the age of 72, I am still working full time at what you referred to as "meaningful" work and I am teaching young PhD candidates. Like Professor McFarland, Brother Pious inspired me to be more than I thought I was capable of.

Love this show Ms. Tippett. I am a Deacon in the Episocopal Church. Your show runs on WNYC at 7AM on Sundays -- just when I am getting on the road to church. Yesterday's show with Mike Rose was just wonderful. I recommended it on my fb page. Wishing you blessings from above and peace from within.

I really started "learning" when I entered the Boy Scouts. The competition resolved. Learning became "see one, do one teach one".
The medical world (once in the clinical arena) was the same. If we raised our educational system to this standard we would benefit as a society. Think about it. Kids grow up learning from their teachers as well as peers than pass on that knowledge to their younger or those that don't have that info yet. You end up with a more social society that benefits each other as opposed to a race to (climb the ladder). Teaching others promets friendship and reinforces knowledge far better than rote memorization.

Thank you for your enlightening series of shows, taking the mind through a virtual amusement park of ideas, explorations, reflections and possibilities.

I too had difficulty in school. Being dyslexic, I was the source of laughter in the reading group when learning to read in the third grade. That hurt me far deeper than I realized at the time, but it did not stop me from becoming a professional research and development mechanical engineer now a game inventor/experimental economics instructor, developing a step-by-step, sequential process for personal economic development. (Maybe seeing things backward contributes to my concept synthesis.) It is through personal discovery that I think everyone can discover their valuable uniqueness and who they are– their actual personality types, their interests and inclinations, their strengths and visions and (this is the tricky, but doable part) synthesize all those findings in such a way as to yield unique, customized, structured career paths which enables all to reach their chosen visions in a game-objective like fashion. It takes new ways of interdisciplinary thinking and developed but unknown mathematical methods, and the cultural and political will.

Having seen numerous consistent results from multiple anecdotal, segment tests, I am confident that this process is possible– from a kid who was so funny in the third grade reading session at Glenfield Elementary School. And I am just one of the millions out there who was lucky enough to have found a path to express myself. Now my objective is to show others that same structured path and let them fill in their own blanks to improve their own personal development process. It is hoped that this process can revitalize our education and economic systems. You can imagine the Black Hole of skepticism engulfing me, but I am confident that we are capable of doing this with just a few tweaks to our thinking.

I’m contacting Mike Rose. Thank you. Keep up the inspirational work.

Charles Phillips

I love this program on the Radio.

With all my listening of ON BEING, am brought to a thought-full refection on worth. Here, in this conversation worth is discussed as work done without concern of how valued a position is but how well the work is done. Ironically, the jobs that are most involved or connected to service or physical product are seen as the lowliest is a indication of our misplaced view of worth.

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is a professor in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He’s the author of several books, including The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker, and Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education.

Production Credits

Host/Producer: Krista Tippett

Senior Editor: Trent Gilliss

Senior Producer: David McGuire

Technical Director/Producer: Chris Heagle

Producer: Nancy Rosenbaum

Associate Producer/Online: Susan Leem

Coordinating Producer: Stefni Bell