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is a research 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, Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us, and more recently Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education.

Selected Readings

"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."

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A welder works in Stockholm, Sweden.

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I went to a small, private Catholic school in the early 60's. I came from an unusual family background that highly valued the arts, education & intellectual curiosity. In my family if we (the children) had an idea or belief that was not consistent with our parents' values, we were not punished out of hand, but asked why we believed what we believed, how we arrived at our viewpoint, & its weak & strong sides.
Needless to say, this was NOT compatible with the culture of my school. Although I was very smart & made good grades, by the age of 6 I was labelled a "trouble-maker" & teated as such as I moved grade to grade.
My 5th grade teacher decided to make her own decisions about me & became an advocate for me with the other teachers in the school. She saw my interest in the arts & encouraged me to pursue that. I took one of my favorite books, The Wizard of Oz, & wrote a script for a play. (unaware that such a thing as scripts already existed in the world) I pre-cast myself as Dorothy, then held auditions & cast the show. I directed it & also did costumes & a small set.
My teacher got permission for us to perform it in our class & "tour" it to the other grades classrooms. We were a hit! For the first time my scholastic experience matched the experience I had at home & I absolutely KNEW I could achieve anything!
Thank you, Mrs. Kuntz, wherever you are!

I'll share a few moments that have had a profound effect on my thinking and being. Early on, in grade school, when I was introduced to the outline form, I realized this was a great organizational tool for ordering information and have used it throughout my life and my career as an architect and teacher. Around the same time, I was reading, "Cheaper by the Dozen", which reinforced finding an efficient and effective way of completing a task and again, this lesson has been quite valuable in my life. When I was in the seventh grade, we were reading, "Moby Dick" in my English class, and the teacher encouraged us to think of the meaning of many elements of Melville's story, such as the possible meaning of the 'whiteness' of the whale and how Melville chose to use this device to add another layer to the novel and tell another story, metaphorically. Since that time, I have viewed all art from that perspective - the 'mis-en-scéne' - what is the artist saying through the medium being used and what are the clues? Twenty-two years ago, I moved to Milan for work and learnt a new language and another way of being in the world, quite different from my life in the States. I was born and reared in Washington and lived in Miami for two years of university before moving to New York, where I have been for 33 years with a two-month stint in Boston and a year in Milan. Lastly, I have been meditating for about 19 years and practicing yoga for 15; lately, I have embarked on a training program to become a yoga instructor since i have found this practice to be so beneficial to keeping me centered and appreciative of the world I am but a small part of. The journey continues.

The hero of this story is Miss Dow, a teacher who knew the radical concept of open classroom teaching in the 1950's, and who made learning a sense of adventure. The setting: a two-room schoolhouse in Lakota, Michigan -- not very far from Lake Michigan. The children in the town of about 200, a number which also included pets ranging from horses, cats, and dogs, fed into Lakota School. Surrounding farmland outside of Lakota provided that there were more children to fill the schoolroom chairs.

Ms. Dow taught Kindergarten through third grade upstairs. Fourth, fifth and sixth grades were taught upstairs.

Miss Dow did not teach her Kindergartner's the ABC's. We were taught to read. The books were the Dick and Jane books, which also highlighted Sally, Spot and Puff. We were taught arithmetic. And, we K'ers were invited to listen to and learn what the other grades were learning. A behemoth of an upright piano took up one area of the open classroom design. A large fridge held enough glass bottles of Sherman's Dairy chocolate and white (whole) milk that Miss Down dispensed to each one of us during snack time. The one bathroom was unisex featuring a paddle with green on one side and red on the other. The cloakroom held all the paraphenalia children wore to keep warm during the winter and dry during the spring rains that fed the many seeds planted by all the farmers surrounding Lakota. Miss Dow also served as proctor and janitor.

Every day we attended school, Miss Dow welcomed us as though we were her children. I still have the scarf she gave me to for my Kindergarten Christmas present. Miss Dow was also our music teacher. She could bang out a tune and sign at the same time, her high-pitched voice full of enthusiasm ringing out over ours.

What she offered to us, her sponges, every school day was an opportunity to live life largely == to become more than a label of "Kindergartner" or "First Grader." We were uniquely challenged to be our own individuals.

I only attended Kindergarten at Lakota School. My older siblings had the fortunate opportunity to attend longer. We moved from Lakota, Michigan to Johnson City, Tennessee the summer before I was to start first grade. I was really sad knowing that I was losing the experience of being Miss Dow's student for another three years. Yet, what she gave me was an insatiable desire to learn.

I will be finally completing my undergraduate degree this coming May 2010. I've thought often of who most supported me to finally finish my undergrad degree at the age of 55. Many people have made my lifelong dream possible. Although, the person who influenced me the most was Miss Dow. Now that she is deceased, I will not be able to give credit to her in person. Yet, I think she would be happier if she knew that her passion for learning that offered with such joy and enthusiasm will be carried as a torch to pass on to others.

I was challenged by my Pastor to attend Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. The year was 1964 and I was sufferring with a case of the "I don't know who I am." Warren Wilson College requires all of its students to take a job on campus. Collectively this student labor sustained the College. I was assigned to the Farm Crew with Earnst Laursen as my boss. Earnst was a son of Danish immigrants. His father managed the College farm before him and they both embodied work ethics I had become familiar with growing up as a child of a US Steel machinist in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Earnst assumed something from all his workers. He assumed that we would discover a way to succeed no matter what our assignment. He judged not how we arrived at this success rather he expected success therefore it instantly contributed to our collective effectiveness as a crew. Through this awesome yet subtle encouragement I learned that failing to perform an aspect of work was an essential learning incident. By failing I was challenged to try another way, often a way that was new to my thinking pattern but a way that fostered creativity. I gained confidence to do anything. Since those wonderful days I have continued to learn new ways to do and achieve. I am retired at 62, hold two Master's degrees,(M.Ed., WCU & M.Div, Candler sch. of Theology), and I am an accomplished builder of nearly anything made from wood and an ameteur photographer. I can fix almost anything and usually do. I am a Veteran of the Vietnam conflict. More than anuthing else I am confident that I can finish the job whether it is fixing something or finishing life.

I have learning disabilities and was put back from the so called "smart" class in 6th grade. It was a devasting experience, though I was not surprised. I knew my math skills were very weak. I became the mouse in back of the classroom for most of my middle school and high school career. It was only after my mother advocated for me to be allowed to take an honors course in Humanties that I was given the gift of a redefination of myself. Sister Agnes Therese saw my potential and called me out after class. She not only gave me a clear and honest assessment but laid out her classroom expectations for me - no more mouse!

I recall quite vividly a moment where my mind came to life in a new way. This moment was brought to life in a not entirely successful but still artful poem which for lack of a copy- it was published in Oxalis,the Stone Ridge Literary Magazine- I write as follows. No title
I never cut a knot in twisted laces
Until the Gordian Knot that was the
Seized nut
Was drilled and chiseled in two
It was hours in the learning
Years before I saw a nut cracker on display
At the auto parts store
And a lifetime before I cut that lace.

To explain: The poem recalls an afternoon working under the hood of my car,when a nut on an exhaust manifold stud had stubbornly refuse to back off, and I was stumped. In a flash while the vise grip, began to wear the nut out of shape, my hand and the strength of the nut's grip ,far stronger than its steel,I flashed back to a story. I recalled elementary school,Our Lady of Lourdes, the teacher told of Alexander and his Gordian nut.The wearing suddenly spoke: why not tearing,what we have here is a Gordian nut. I can't expect you to feel what I felt at that moment, but it illustrates I hope in some way what I'll hear about this Sunday morning on WNYC. I don't do pod casts so I'll wake early.
Both the event and the creation of the poem that followed from it are happy memories. I've shared the poem once or twice, explicating on that would be mechanic and his lonely quest, the poem speaks of that as well. I did the job under the hood and learned that craft largely alone, why? Is this what the poem is about ? Anyway, I heard a great story ,and it gave meaning to a struggled I faced years later.
And about that Lifetime before I cut that lace...I meant that to illustrate how strongly I felt the Aha moment.

Sincerely ,
Edward Peters

I am blessed to have been born into a rural Illinois family that always emphasized lifelong learning. When I was five years old my Aunt Bernice began giving me volumes of the Golden Book Encyclopedia which she acquired with her weekly grocery purchases. I sat on her lap and she read to me until I could read myself. My father, the oldest of 8 depression era children set aside his college education to support his brothers and sisters. He taught himself plumbing, heating and elctrician skills to run his own business but read 4 daily newspapers. he taught me that learning is a daily, lifelong endeavor.

Most recently my wife Leah and I are raising 4 children including a 13 year old son, John-Carlos, with autism. He was assesesd as at a pre-kindergarten level in fourth grade until he moved to middle school and we found a teaching staff willing to learn the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) method of communication and education geared toward low or non-verbal students. Within a year he was functioning above grade level. I remain so deeply inspired to become who I am by the brave efforts of my family heroes.

I was 35 years old and recently separated. I had 2 young children a son, 7, and a daughter, 3. I found myself sitting in the office of a professor at the local unversity where I had signed up for his class in Human Development and Learning. I had a college degree but was lost. I hoped for more for myself and for my life. I went to drop the class finding the course I had signed up for and the resposiblities of being a single parent too much. So in his office, with my beautiful 3 year old daughter on my lap, I said I didn't believe I could do it. I didn't believe I could manage so much. I will not forget him saying "I believe you can do it, and I will sign the drop slip, if you want." I won't forget the words or the feeling he extended me. He believe in me when on that day at that time I didn't believe in myself. I did drop the class but the next semester went back. I was so overwhelmed I had to take a tape recorder to the class so I could go back later and listen again to the lecture. That was hard but it did get easier. Today, I write this story at my desk at work as a clinical social worker. He gave me hope, my work and my children give my life meaning, and I wake up excited at the possibilities for becoming more of whom I am each day. Thank you Michael Green.

I'll respond, but not now.

Too much to sift through, dredge to the surface, examine in the light of experience, dismiss the interesting temporary distractions, etc. After 74 pretty active yrs., (this) one thinks not only of locating beginnings, but also middles, and probably now, or before long, the shutting down of some former preoccupations in favor of more abiding concentration on others.

So let me think about it, and thanks in any case for advancing the unexpected 'goose'.

Wm. Reimann, sculptor/designer, teacher

I am an educator. I have taught second and third grade children for over 29 years. I have a Masters degree and 45 hours beyond. I have a passion for education and yet, I can't wait to retire.

I am energized when I teach, yet I am frustrated, disgruntled, disappointed and discouraged when I am forced to teach under state and federal guidelines that know nothing about my classroom.

Education needs a systemic change and NCLB is not the way to get there. It was refreshing to hear Mike Rose talk about education and testing. His years of research and my years in the classroom have discovered the same result. Assessments test for different things and are useful in their own right, however standardized testing does not reflect the amount of sleep the child got the night before because the mom worked until midnight. Nor does it reflect what is being taught in the classroom. Recently I attended a workshop where the teachers were being blasted to include Higher Order Thinking Skills. (Bloom's Taxonomy came out in the 50s) as if teachers did not want to teach thinking. But thinking is not assessed on a test of multiple choice. When curriculum has to be covered in a timely fashion there is not time to go deep. We can't burn the candle at both ends...cover it quickly and deeply.

I so want reform in education and I do not want politicians to be doing the reform. I want two groups to be equally represented to make the change. The first and foremost group would be teachers. NO ONE asks teachers what can be done. No administrator, no college educator, no School Board member, no Senator or Representative has surveyed the staff. How can these people speak for education when they are NOT doing the educating? Because everyone has at one time or another been in school, it somehow deems that they know what needs to be done. I do not conclude the same after having several appointments with a doctor, but unfortunately the teaching profession is not respected in the US by our government, our community or our students.

The second group I think needs to be involved in NCLB reform are people like Mike Rose, Robert Marzano, Jay McTighe, etc. people who have spent their lives researching and asking questions and forming conclusions.These people need us, the practitioners, to test their theories in the classroom. We need to be working side by side and we need to be the ones shaping the reform.

It is a shame that the educational world cannot look at the resource it has in teachers. Not all teachers do nothing or are incapable.

I appreciate your efforts in keeping education, the striving for intellectual growth, and progress in our country in the forefront.

Diane Bodnar

Thank you. I agree with your ideas, and I love the authors you mentioned. I have been in a similar situation as a teacher. I wonder what future studies will uncover.

What seems to have always shaped my current work is my endless play and movement in and through the world, the world of nature. I am a dance/movement therapist and I believe that our bodies are our first home. For me, movement is a primary language and then I use words to express myself. The body of the earth is our home as well and we must move and dance and laugh and sing and shout and be silent and whatever else we can do in and with this miracle we call our body on this miraculous planet called earth. There are so many sensual experiences to be open to and experience.

Ms. Tippett,

Thank you so very much for today's broadcast on "Meaning of Intelligence" where Michael R. defined, so well, the vocational vs "college" track in school.

Your broadcast hit home so hard, I just had to offer congratulations to you for this topic.

As the son of a man whose mother was white, and father was Mexican, I grew up on a small, poor, rurual East Texas farm.

On that farm, survival meant turning manual labor into money. As a teenager I became adept both in school, graduating as salutatorian in my class, and on the farm. I mastered all tools, all farm equipment, took on a business contracting out to bale hay, and generally worked, hard, every day to make a better farm make more money.

In my farming work I learned manual dexterity, work, but, also, how to plan, schedule, adapt, meet people, sell, and work. I learned how to use tools for applications nobody ever even thought of. How to use trees and ropes to lift tractor tires, how to back up a gooseneck trailer a mile, how to feel good about loading 90lb bales of hay all day.

In farming, I learned how to stand in awe of my father, who, every day invented something new for our farm. A new way to feed the livestock automatically, a new blend of grass seed or corn, a modified tool, or a simple idea that made work easier.

My father, I now understand, is the modern genius nobody knows.

At school, I learned how to convert binary to decimal, how to write, how to excel and study. How to revel in the meaning of a word, or a phrase. English, my father said, is your key to success.

I was on BOTH vocational track (at home) and College track (at school).

As my senior year progressed, my father asked me which way I would go: 1) To college, since everyone in my community was aware of my academic excellence by the time I was 17, or 2) stay on the farm.

Not knowing the answer.....

I applied and was accepted to the dream school, Texas A&M at College Station. (nobody ever even heard of Harvard in that part of the world).

I struggled with my choice. I did not want to leave the farm, or my father. But, he encouraged me to get educated, leave, become someone valuable. He never felt he was.

In the end, I chose college and graduated from A&M number at or near the top of the class in Chemical Engineering and number 14 out of 3500 or so students in 1982. I went on to UT Austin to get a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering, but, could have gone to Med School or law school or anything I wanted to do - in academia. By then, the farm had vanished from my mind.

Now, these many years later, I am a senior engineer, with a nice house, nice life, at a big American corporation. This was thought to be a valid path for engineering education....I am supposed to be, now, successful.

I look back at the fork in my road and often wonder if I should have, could have, taken the vocational, farming route. But, at the time, nobody valued that route. Everyone valued "education".

My father sold his small farm to put his three children through the inexpensive, but excellent, public university system in Texas.

I took my kids back and stood outside the gate of that farm looking at the old pine farmhouse this past summer. It is painted a different color now, and has air conditioning, but, miraculously, is otherwise the same. But, it is not mine.

My father remains proud, today, that his kids are educated.

He still arises at 6 am and works in his tiny back yard in Houston, Texas, outside, all day. He works no matter how hot. He is 80 now. His tiny yard grows more food than most grocery stores sell.

I completely understand the two pathways you described with Michael R. today.

All these years I have listened to you and your topics.

Today, I cried.

Dr. Michael Sanchez
Rochester, NY

Thank you again.

Dear Dr Sanchez,
What a poignant story you have described. I am very touched by your experience. It touched my heart. In somewhat different ways, we have similar stories about the two pathways/learning journeys we had. Don't forget that you can still return to that land, even if it is your backyard. Just like your father grows his food in his tiny backyard now. Thank you for sharing. You have made my day.
Rita, Australia.

It is some of the stories of my childhood, which I can't share publically, that are part of my shaping. One I can is:

One time I came home from playing. I was around 11 years old. As I opened the front door, which was the kitchen (railroad apartments in NYC), my mother was washing clothes by hand in the tub (in the kitchen), she looked up, right at me, and said, "You know what you are? You're unique." I had expected a scolding. My family life was pretty dysfunctional (as I see it now). My reflection is that the heart is stronger than the environment. Expect love, amidst all else. God is truly everywhere. Over decades, care enough to understand. Listen. Be kind. Transformation can takes place, also, in a lifetime, not always as a coupe de foudre. Learn to love. Learn to forgive.

As a junior in high school, I was told by the guidance counselor that I needed Algebra IV to do well in college. That class conflicted with band and I decided not to take the math class, (epsecially since my dad was the band diretor).
I went on to Davidson College, where I got a degree in biology and played in the Charlotte Symphony for my four years of college. I then had a 30 year career as an executive at a fortune 500 textile company.
Music, learning how to learn, and the Davidson Honor Code shaped my life and I never missed the Algebra IV.

I'm one of those individuals who, since childhood in Italy, was placed on the "college (liceo) track". But it was 1961 when I graduated from HS in the US and, although my parents were told that I should pursue higher education, I was steered to get married and settle down with a husband. I was soon divorced after getting married but already had two children to support. Ever since, I've been miserable in any job I've been able to hold but made sure that my children concentrated on their natural talents and prepared for careers accordingly. I must say that I was told by school officials that my son would make a good "draftsman" but he went on to graduate as an Architect from Notre Dame University and eventually ended up as a Professional US Senate Staffer. My daughter, had an aptitude for math and works in a male-dominated field as a Computer Scientist. She was accepted for the PhD program in Computer Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Both my children averaged "C" or "C+" all the way through school yet they proved themselves capable in their chosen fields.

I'm a firm believer in the fact that "school learning" is only a "tool" to help someone pursue their personal interests. And I believe that PARENTS play a big role in helping children do so. Sometimes it takes a while for young adults to identify those interests but if they are given freedom to chose, the basis of self-confidence and a sense of responsibility for their deeds and contribution to society, they will eventually chose the right path. Also there is a need for society to expand employment opportunities to those who express an intersts in a particular field without having had previous direct working experience. Seems that personal "motivation" is largely undervalued these days.

Elizabeth D. Niemeyer

Her name is Mrs. Russell. It was 1968 in a still divided South that was wary of "the other." She was the mother of the only Jewish family in town. It was rumored they didn't own a television, instead had they had books and a chess set. I was the daughter of one of the first "Yankee" families to move there. She was my 12th grade English teacher and she was tall and willowly with perfect posture. She wasn't chatty. There was dignity in her voice and movement. Now that I think of it, she must have study ballet at one time. Every Monday we walked in to take our seats, and as the class settled, she would move toward the record player and place the needle on a selection of Bach or Mozart. We were to listen and then write. Sometimes there was a prompt of a single word on the board, sometimes not. For me, this writing released the ramble of the weekend and settled my mind for the week. Our small town was a deeply divided town, but we both survived the scrutiny of being "the other" from elsewhere.

At 43, twenty five years later and raising daughters alone and in my last year of college where I, too, would become an English teacher, the State of Florida was sure I fraudulently filed unemployment benefits. Step-by-step (and over the course of a year), the claim and appeal process led to a hearing in a narrow room--a board room with a long table lined with five men in dark suits on one side; five men in dark suits on the other side; the judge at one end; and I was to take the seat on the opposite end, facing her. As I write this, the adrenalyn of that moment of walking into that room is still with me. Yet, crossing through the door frame to enter the room, something happened. My body shifted and my posture aligned into Mrs. Russell's stance. I squared my shoulders, straighted my neck, and looked up and seemed next to float walk to my seat in the same way she would move around our classroom. It was clear to me later that a sort of body intelligence/memory arrived for me as I entered her dignity and carried her with me into that frightening room.

In the end, Mrs. Russell and truth were with me (as well as my studies in linguistics). I won the appeal and am in my 15th year of teaching high school English. My work is a testament to what she brought to me at 18 and again at 43.

I had a couple of standout experiences in school that impacted me in a negative way and I have teachers that I remember with fondness though I am not sure why.

Twenty years ago, at 31, I told my grandmother I was going back to college and she told me that my first grade teacher had said I was retarded, interesting. I always say that I am smart when it comes to tests and school, 1290 on the GRE 10 years out of school and with a migraine (1310 the first time), but when it comes to life and relationships I am clueless. What I remember of that teacher was being grabbed by the shoulders and shaken until my shoulders hurt for drawing on the bathroom wall with a pencil and I remember a conference after which I was taken to the eye doctor and given glasses. I think that she told my grandmother I had emotional problems and my grandmother being who she was didn't understand. In the first part of the third grade back with my mother, who pretty much left my 7 year old sister and I to fend for ourselves, the teacher accused me of cheating during an exam because my eyes were wandering. She yelled at me and when I started to cry told me I was crying crocodile tears. Does an 8 year old know what cheating is? At a different school later that year, my teacher had a dunce row in front of the class, she would put us there for various infractions, we got to wear a pointy paper hat. I really didn't like it there.

Somehow I made it through those experiences and learned to read and to even to do well in school. I fell in love with mythology and stories of old civilizations and then with science fiction. I excelled at math and loved latin and french but still I never got comfortable in school. I started in with the proverbial bad crowd (I think I was the bad crowd) and dropped out of high school.

I know many teachers took an interest and tried to help me but I just couldn't take it in. When I did start taking college classes I needed constant reassurance for the longest time. I took basic math, remedial english, that english teacher actually got irritated and told me I was wasting her time, I had all the skill I needed to succeed in school. I learned to love learning and to trust myself when it came to tests and writing anyway. Yet I still struggled with bad study habits and when I got to graduate school realized I didn't have what it took for a theoretical program like that one. I quit and though I have gotten as close as applying I have never gone back to school.

I suppose my insecurity comes from a hard childhood but I usually berate myself for my failings by saying it was not as difficult as many and is surely no excuse when I look at those many that have overcome extreme difficulties to become amazing people with great accomplishments. I am now finding myself longing to go back to school just because I want to. I think because it is easier than my life, which appears very easy...making a living as a massage therapist in the florida keys. However, I want a goal with an endpoint and the semester lends itself perfectly to that. It seems I am just no good at setting and keeping goals for myself or perhaps at acknowledging what I do accomplish. Also, I have no health insurance, vacation or sick leave and so far don't seem able to save money so no retirement and the work is seasonal so I have long stretches of little or no work that leave me struggling with more feelings of failure. In addition, I feel that this whole part of myself-the "smart" part-is unused and longing for a place in the world. I often say that my retirement plan is to live in a University town and take Mathematics and linguistics classes to my hearts content.

I didn't get to listen to this whole show but it seemed the appropriate end to this week. Earlier this week, (listening to NPR-WLRN), I heard that New Orleans was struggling to find enough school teachers. I thought about the times in my life when I have thought of being a school teacher, how I would like to find a way to make a difference in the lives of young people. I want to teach high school math but it has been over 25 years since I had a math class and I have no education background but I could go to school again. I could have my life portioned out to me in manageable chunks: class hours, mid-terms, semesters, school years. And then my job would be like that...I honestly don't know why I didn't do it sooner. I don't know how I will pay for it and I may be 55 before I am done and I worry that the kids will see right through me to the insecure parts and just eat me alive but I also love learning and somehow someway maybe I can give that to them.

Thank you for another wonderful show! I am certain that the creators of our present testing-based criteria for schools want our country to be strong. Hearing Mike Rose speak of the intelligence of the plumber and the hairstylist going undiscovered and, consequently, not encouraged and trained in this system directly speaks to it's ineffectiveness in meeting the actual goal. This country needs plumbers and hairstylists! Now, thanks to them, I think I'll go take a shower and wash my hair.

A comment that I've heard a lot during my last few years that has bothered me, really resurfaced this morning while listening to your show. What bothers me is when those who do physical labor emphasize their jobs as "honest work", thereby implying that
"non-physical" jobs are not as "honest". This is particularly keen to me right now as I'm up early before my children awake to finish the notes from the patients I've seen this week as a primary care physician in a rural community.

Those who work with their hands can cheat people as much as anyone else with unfair prices and shoddy workmanship. I know this because I've seen it as I've worked as a laborer at different times during college and medical school.

Reading this week's piece about intelligence, what is it, do we define it so narrowly we miss important human information -- caused me to reflect on my disability clients. Over the course of 30 years it has become apparent that particular deficits can result in corresponding strengths, and particular uniqueness. Oliver Sacks writes about these things in his marvelous patient profiles. But not every person with deficits develops strengths. Some feel too demoralized, stigmatized. Which suggests an avenue to develop therapies so these opportunities aren't missed.

The foundation of my childhood education was not founded on a specific moment or person (although there were many), but in a system. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio in the early seventies where a program called ‘The Alternative School System’ launched. It included elementary, middle and, at the time, one high school.
I attended a ‘normal’ elementary school in the first grade and my mother realized, that I was not challenged. From what little I remember, I wasn’t.

Enrollment in these schools was lottery-based and I was selected to attend Linden Park Elementary in the second grade. This school had no classrooms; instead, there were large spaces with workstations. Grades were not called ‘second’ or ‘third’ but instead were named after constellations and we were free to move from one to the other based on learning and progress as opposed to age.

Middle school was more mainstream with traditional classes although there were some exceptions. Specifically, accelerated math classes, non-traditional language classes and ‘mini’-courses. In the 6th grade I studied Italian and had mini-courses that I selected to study.

I was not admitted to the alternative high school my freshman year and realized immediately how different the alternative world was from the traditional school system. Because of the fluidity of my curricula and progress based accelerated learning, most of my classes were at the sophomore level.

As I entered my sophomore year, I entered the lottery for entry into the high school, and was not accepted, but placed on the wait list. I had to plead with administrators in my traditional high school to get into senior level classes because I had exhausted most sophomore and some junior classes. Fortunately, two weeks into the year, spaces opened and I was able to start classes at the high school and prepared my schedule. Not only was I able to get into classes that were challenging, I was also able to start earning college credit.

One of the most unique elements of the high school schedule were our internships. Every Wednesday, we had no scheduled classes, but internships at local businesses, arts programs, Universities and charities. Through that program, I helped PhD students catalogue ancient manuscripts, painted sets for a local theatre and toured elementary schools with an original children’s theatre production.

When I got out into the world and mentioned that I attended an ‘alternative’ schools, I was faced with very strange looks. Apparently in the northeast this is what reform schools are called. Of course, this could not be farther from the truth.

The Columbus Alternative School system shaped the way I think about problem solving, learning and growth even today.

I appreciated Mr. Rose's comments about the value of those who do manual labor. I have three college degrees, have written one book and am writing a second, have written newspaper and magazine articles, and teach Sunday school. Any yet, for the last 14-years I have owned my own wholesale distributorships, first selling snacks and for the last five years selling bread. And customers, store managers, and most hurtful, people from my own church nearly always act like I must be stupid or have something wrong with me that I do this manual labor. Fellow congregants that enjoy visiting with me on Sunday mornings during the week if they see me at work simply walk past me and pretend like I don't exist. The cumulative effect is to make me self conscious of what I do and tends to make me feel ashamed of my job even though it requires intelligence, enormous self discipline and great persverence to successfully own and operate your own business for 14-years. I have learned from my experiences to always look into the eyes of those doing service work - the maids and janitors and shelf stockers, to try and acknowledge them, see their humanity and, if possible, to even thank them for their work.

All through my school years, I was the model student arriving at National Honor Society and straight A's in high school. Went on to a few years of college without finishing but completing a vocational certificate. All these years, I've felt like an "under-achiever" because I didn't have that college degree! After high school, in addition to some post-secondary schooling, I had a lot of "Real Life" experiences with many varying jobs of which I treasure the memories. The interview with Mike Rose (The Meaning of Intelligence) helped me value ALL of my "education" and reconcile my feelings of "under-achievement" that I have wrestled with for most of my life. What a refreshing perspective on intelligence and approach to education. I wish this interview was mandatory for all education majors!

It was my sophomore year in college. I was taking a psychology course and listening to another lecturer, taking thorough notes of everything the instructor said with a certain assumption that the information was "true" and certainly what I needed to know if I was to get the answer "right" on the test. this is the way I was indoctrinated throughout my education, to believe that true, right information was known, and it was my job to learn it. As I listened on this particular day to yet another research study--the hypothesis, the measurements, the data and its conclusions--I was surprised when we were told a different result than the one I expected. With a perplexed, timid curiosity, I raised my hand and asked, "couldn't the data be interpreted to mean this instead....?" Her response was blunt and matter of fact: "Oh yes--absolutely; it could mean that...." and then continued on to the next study without pause or explanation.
I fell stunned and in an instant thought of all that had already been told to us as "true facts" and I suddenly realized that it was ALL open to question and debate! this was the moment I became a psychology major, and a straight A student. I was thrilled and excited most by the possibility that "They" didn't know all the answers and that even me, a lowly undergrad student might ask fresh questions or discover new insights.

I did not become a "psychologist" formally, but a teacher--which is to say, much the same thing. I have been teaching at a highly ranked midwestern university for 16 years. My philosophy of education today is still based on my epiphany 25 years ago. I have come to view the questions as more important than answers because I notice that when students are allowed to risk voicing questions--all questions, especially the wild, crazy ones--their genuine curiosity and imagination makes the learning natural, and easy. And they remember what they learn better because it is connected to their own experience and innate inquisitiveness. As a result, a lot of students in my classes get high grades. I am against grading systems such as "curves" that rank students best to worst, A to F. I disagree with systems in which someone is required to fail, merely by rank. I find that if you can convince these well trained students to put questions ahead of answers, learning ahead of getting good grades, that good grades are a natural result. I believe everyone should be able to get an A. And if they are allowed to be interested enough in learning, I find that many do.

The children of manual labourers had been taught to loathe all book-learning, and all who excelled at it. They made my life hell for ten years, until I could finally leave for college the emotional wreck I remain today, largely because the capitalist job system these clods believe is the best and fanatically support even as it ruins them is still in place. I believe that I am very far from unique, and they are not so either, as I see these human apes in every Fox 'News' commentator or viewer I've had the misfortune to notice.

From Aristotle to Confucius to the rabbis who spoke the Talmud into being, I think the ancients were onto something: to the extent that manual work can be automated, it degrades the human spirit and should be eliminated. Manual intelligence is not absent in knowledge-workers: all the rabbis of old were skilled tra=des-men, though none did the mindless work of awmim-haw-oretzim, and I know more computer programmers who could entirely retro-fit their houses than otherwise...I know of very few plumbers or waitresses who hack in their off-hours.

This is not to say that intelligence is not in play in some manual labour---I will note that you soft-balled the researcher by not paying more attention to assembly-line workers---but to the extent it's there it could be better-turned toward more useful projects such as
* eliminating that work using machines and A.I.
* extending human life indefinitely, including uploading (thereby creating a 'soul', which, contrary to what some of your guests have said, does not exist)
* colonising space
* understanding as much about this godless, wonderful, universe as possible
* bending it to our wills
Everything not thinking or fusing is a waste of good enthalpy.

This may _sound_ unrealistic, but given that it is based entirely on the known properties of actual matter, as opposed to what various spokes-persons have claimeed for notioonal 'spiritual' (that is, non-existent) entities, I think it comparatively not so. Even the modest technological advances needed to eliminate all forced work, forever, would be a good start, and a great improvement, not least because it would end the romanticisation of toil toward which your latest guest is contributing.

Finally, be sincere:
Who would you rather constituted our polity: the teabaggers and Town Hollerers, almost all people who have hated their boring jobs and authoritarian bosses and therefore hate and loathe the students and knowledge-workers and darker people they assume laze their lives away in various way, or the more mixed---but brain-working--tilted---population of (wait for it!)....public radio listeners?

In 2003, my wife and I spent 8 days at a friend's house in Carmel, CA. He's a lifelong, fine art photographer and I've been in the advertising/design business for 30+ years. For the first few days, we had the house to ourselves and I relished in the abundance of black and white photographic images.

Each day we rose with the sun, had a simple breakfast and set out to explore the California coastline. One trip, was to Point Lobos State Reserve where I became spellbound at the beauty and serenity of the surroundings. It was a moving and inspirational experience that I recall to this day. I shot endless photos and immediately knew that, from then on, I wanted to make art with a camera.

Back home, I bought a better camera, spent as much time outdoors as I could and photographed everything in sight. Although I couldn't duplicate the experience I had in Point Lobos, I have developed an appreciation of the vision that I awakened that day in Carmel.

This new avenue of self-expression has given me another chance to find out what I can offer to myself and others.

There are so many moments that shape who we are, it is difficult to choose just one, but if I have to, it's the good fortune to have been placed in a class with a wonderfully gifted, experimental 6th and 7th grade teacher, Mr. Baldwin, who had the courage to teach to each students strength and create a sense of community. I have to credit him with opening my eyes to the wider world around me and tweaking my intellect, so that I became a life-long-learner!

I must also credit my Mother, who like Mike Rose's mother was a full time worker, with an hourly wage. Although we had very little money, she always made life interesting and provided a loving base from which I was secure enough to test my wings. I was the first in my family to go to college. My mother was a unique character, who just passed away at age 93. She lived life on her terms and although we were quite different and our personalities sometimes clashed, I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful life lessons she shared with me (throughout my childhood and also in our adult/adult relationship). Although my life has been easier than hers, I am still in awe of her courage and ability to deal with lifes issues which none of us anticipate.

Thank you - Mike and Krista - for a wonderful hour and I look fwd to reading Mike Rose's books.

My creative writing teacher took us out for a walk in silence to look for images, things that might spark a short story. When we came back to the room, we went around and everyone said their image. When it was the teacher's turn, she described (this was in the month of May) some tulips a recent rain had knocked the petals off of. She said the tulips reminded her of prom dresses the day after prom.

It was such a wonderful metaphor--I felt the truth of it immediately. And I walked away from class thinking: "I want to learn how to do THAT!" In one brief instant, with one utterance, my teacher completely changed the way I looked at the world. What else was out there to find? What other connections could I make?

And, I suppose, the deeper lesson was that if my outlook on the world could change, could deepen in meaning, then so could I. What a thrilling possibility. To think that my sense of identity hinged on the attitude I cultivated, day by day, in how I chose to look at the world. Powerful.

Back when only 10% of the pop went to college, above average intelligence to borderline geniuses were in the other 90%. Factory line workers, union delegates, and tradesmen not only knew their jobs, but were naturally inquisative about their role in their line or work and the wolrd around them.

Now such people are good at what they do, but too many now have limited interests beyond their paycheck.

It's too bad when the greatest intellects are being syphoned off to white collar jobs seeking only to generate profits for the company and bonuses for themselves.

Just wanted to finish my story. From that moment on I began to believe I could learn and I had possibilties to continue my career, education and really anything I wanted to do. I ended up going to UGA obtaining my Masters in Social Work and them my Specialist in Education. I now love to learn. I like the new knowledge that inspires me to creative in my career and to inspire those around me. I want to inspire not only our students, but the teachers and administrators, for all of us to be all we can be, making our dreams a reality. I am know doiing a study on developmental theory and teaching. Guess what! I am inspired again, to implement this knowledge and to tap into possibilities that our students with autism, developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities. What are we missing, what can they do that is rewarding to them and how can we help them live beyond our walls? The state requires we teach according to chronological age, but aren't we missing an opportunity to teach to their developmental age, helping them feel accomplished? Maybe, with this road map we can help them be all that is possible.
Thank you again for your show. My sister, a scientist, and I, a school social worker, love it.
Andrea Clifton

A few years in to my pursuit of an architectural degree, peers and certain showed me the plans of projects (many were centuries old) where the relationships between the parts of the plan (walls, spaces, external/natural objects, orientation to the sun, etc.) were describing in fairly specific terms how the users of the building could make sense of their activities at this particular location. In some senses (especially to our 20th century eyes where the fashionable aesthetic aspects of design are perceived as paramount), all this information is "hidden", as if some elaborate code devised by underground interests like those glorified in The DaVinci Code. In another light, however, walls are always walls no matter what the era one lives in, and they both do the obvious thing of enclosing space and constrict certain of your views or perhaps let the view out, through a gap, perhaps aligning your eye to some direction they set you up precisely to see; a wall also may unite what is on either side because each side might share in the prospect of huddling up next to the wall, and so on. These aspects of wall are timeless - they might be called the simple reality of what a wall is, regardless of who you are or when you interact with the wall. Like a poet, who helps us rediscover the power of words by stripping them back to their elemental, meaningful roots, I saw the really good architects using their "materials" to get users to really come to grips with their place on this earth.

Thus, by spending my time now looking for what the really good ones accomplished with their architecture, it soon became clear to me that their work was great in spite of the surface trappings of their day, or the technological opportunities or limitations they faced. Yes, they also made wonderful things in ways that, in hindsight, some historian may also describe as "beautiful", but these "winning ways" had very little to do with what was magical or inspiring about their work. For their mastery over their "materials" (solid things and spatial volumes) allowed them the possibility to demonstrate universal themes that they chose to layer on top of merely solving the functional problems that were laid out by the client. Many of these architects toiled in times, and in places, and for clients that would have to grow in order to be able to comprehend all that had been put in place with their designs.

Then (the early '80s), and now, our odds of finding a public that is interested in something more out of our art than sheer window dressing is slight. The fashionable trend-setters dominate our field and, while increasing its exposure, have unfortunately moved it further to the superficial. Our task is to reinvigorate the art, making it both more accessible and more substantial. Such a task is daunting, but I came to realize that the greats of the past 2000 years have always faced such odds, and it is inspiring to know that and humbling to acknowledge the effort involved.

Will Gerstmyer AIA LEED

Speaking of Faith
January 10, 2010
Tena L. Cook

In fourth grade in Stapleton, Nebraska, Mrs. Caryl [sic] Jones made a lasting impact upon my life. She taught with such power that I truly felt transported to the jungles of South America when we studied the people who lived there. I could feel the oppressive heat and humidity inside my tent and hear the drums in the background. Her gifts of teaching helped me draw pictures of these scenes because I "had been there".
She praised and encouraged with unconditional love - so much like a second mother. I later found out that she had no children of own and realize this may have been why she could take such a keen interest in her students.
She sent an annual postcard to me until I was about 35 - which was about five years before her death. There isn't a week of my life that I don't think of Mrs. Jones and thank her for being my fourth grade teacher.

The drawings I have attached are those of Nebraska wildlife - which was a topic included in our course of study in fourth grade under Mrs Jones' leadership. I have kept them with me all these years as inspiration that I do have artistic abilities that I need to hone and develop.

I have several more images available, if needed. THANK YOU for this opportunity.

One more very excellent interview today- Mike Rose on education. When this series was initially announced I cringed- as an atheist I would have reason to duck what seemed to be coming. But this series has had the highest level of intelectual integrity of any discussion series available. Along with Bill Moyers, the PBS is doing a major service to the country. Now, if only the audience were far greater, discourse might become useful rather than the poorly reasoned, emotional, uninformed blatherings we get from the likes of Palin, Cheny, FOX News, and even Nancy Pelosi. [I have to add at least one off target mind from the so called left.] So, thank you very much, Krista Tippett!

A combat tour in Viet Nam in 1967, changed my direction. Wounded in Feb 1968, and spending a year @ Fitzsimmon's Army Hospital, Denver Co, influenced me. I was drafted out of the college of Engineering, Univ of MN, at the end of my Jr year. After the service I returned to the U and could not face a future with a cubicle. I wound up in the college of Education and a career as a high school shop teacher. Years of vocational type teaching in outstate MN leaves quite a mark on my life. Mike Rose's comments have been fascinating, perhaps easing some of the frustration of watching the State Dept of Ed and Mn legislature's decades long attempt to destroy primary/secendary education in this state.

Matthew B Crawford, a PHD think tank fellow, just published a fascinating study of today's workplace:

Matthew B. Crawford
Shop Class as Soulcraft, an Inquiry into the Value of Work
2009 The Penguin Press

Larry Skoglund
Miltona MN

My husband is in the midst of producing a film entitled "Last in Class", profiling individuals, many highly creative and ultimately "successful" by conventional standards, who graduated last in their high school or college classes. Your discussion on intelligence and its role in formal schooling, personal identity, meaning and values - whether real or perceived - was such a validation and reflection of the voices what he has captured in his own work and particularly calls into question the role that our educational system plays in determining a "value" on people's potential contribution to the world that we all carry in some form or another for the rest of our lives. It would be an overstatement to say the people in the film were "scarred" by the school experience and adults effectively saying "you are stupid and won't amount to anything" as they all learned to navigate on from there but there is no doubt they were impeded and profoundly affected in less than positive ways for years thereafter.

A great discussion - and one that should continue in many different ways. thank you!

1964. 5th grade. Anshe Emet: A private school on the north side of Chicago. A brilliant teacher coaxed our class into performing a modified version of "Macbeth." None of us had acted before. The girls wanted to do the play but it took some work on the boys. When the teacher told us there were battles and ghosts, we were sold! I played Macbeth and it changed my life. I have been a theatre professional ever since. My life's work has been to work with kids in theatre in schools, summer camps, and in community theatre. I never had a chance to thank the teacher who made such a profound influence in my life. The photo attached is Paul Warshauer being honored at curtain calls for "42nd Street" at Calabasas High School in the late 1980's.

This is not so much a response to the above question as simply some of the thoughts inspired by this show. In particular, the irony in the various usages of the word "vocation" and how they either exalt or denigrate a job.

As a senior in a liberal arts college, I pondered--as most of us do--what was next. Grad school? Seminary? Or a job having something to do with food--my great passion? My advisor, Deane Lagerquist, told me, "you know, Monte, I sit up here in the office and I write things that I don't know if anyone will ever read. People will always be hungry." The next year I enrolled in culinary school and I have fed people ever since.

The last five years have been as a baker--and this is currently a hip, oft-dreamed-about career. Krista, you said that people tell you all the time they would love your job--and I'm sure they do. I would love your job! Being a baker in Vermont (where I lived in those years) has much the same status.

But am I satisfied? Some days. It is magical to make inedible things edible, to make something beautiful and delicious and sustaining. The repetitive parts can be meditative ... but they can also be boring. It can be soul-draining to do the same thing over and over, especially in situations where you never see the customer, you don't know who is eating your bread.

I think my dissatisfaction mostly comes from the fact that I was part of a school and a community that placed great value on the religious idea of "vocation." St. Olaf College is Lutheran, and Martin Luther famously opened up the idea of Christian vocation beyond the pastorate. Any job, he said, could be a vocation. This is wonderful, unless it becomes perverted into an extreme focus on finding one's vocation, one's calling. Somehow this exalted language made me feel that a job had to be just right, had to be fulfilling and helpful and perfectly suited to me. It's not so much that I have a hard time imagining baking as a vocation--or truck-driving or teaching or any other possible job out there. It's that I don't know if it's my vocation. Is it what I'm called to do?

I still don't know what is ahead for me, career-wise. But I am slowly separating out my sense of vocation from my job. My vocation, I think, has more to do with living a certain life and becoming a certain person. It's rooted as much in relationship--with my children, my husband, my parents, my neighbors--as anything.

Thank you Mike Rose for your truth telling. I have long valued the expertise of my plummer and the great public service done by those who gather my waste two days a week. I came away from this presentation being affirmed in the notion that when we cooperate rather than compete we have all used a bit more of our intellect.

Becoming Alice took fifty-four years of "enough" crying over, paying for, and cleaning up the messes in other people's lives that were left behind by poor choices of some, or caused brutaly, by others. I am a servant to drunks, addicts, and people in crisis. My door was once open to strangers who needed to cry, to pray, to eat, or laugh. I found myself after loyalty called on me to raise my dieing friend's granchild from birth thru seven, only to have him taken away, and placed into the unkown in the snakepit,foster system by his own mother, and grandmother. Malachi Peasley was my gifted, special needs, well beloved son until Ocober two thousand seven. Malachi was seven-years old at the time he is now nine. I have not seen my son for two years over nothing more than "hear say" and never stood before a judge, recieved a sentence, nor was I charged for the crime of "neglect of paper work." I am telling you there is something very wrong with a county that uses Bible thumping believers called; "special, volunteers" of "Kid's Hope, Reading Classes" to take a child's "inventory," which digs out personal information about what goes on in the home. Self righteous,prejudice social workers who see a battered child behind every other eye, teachers, who have never had children, and over zealous neighbors, or church members get to talking about what they know nothing of then add a brute of a delusional, Child Protective Service Worker, an nasty, arrogent cop and think it through it is set up like a serpant ready to swallow a child whole. This is the story not onl behind my son, but behind the drug abuse, violence, suicides, and shattere lives of young women and chidren here and it hs been goigon for over fifty years. I tell Young parents of low income, and African American, or any other race do not stand a chance here in Comstock Park, of Kent County. I am telling you if someone even thinks different in this community they cannot attend churches here. I was refused to even pray with a paster because he said; "You wrote in old African dialect and referred to us a prejudice, we do't know where you are coming from." He then left me standing outside his office to show myself out the door. So much for hospitality. That is just one sickening example I loathe telling of the others. Hope, and true faith came to me through meeting, and opening my door to one of the "Lost Boys of Southern Sudan," and other amazing, now friends from Nigeria, and Ethiopia, & Kenya. I wish I could tell you their names, they deserve a gold medal of honor for how their lives changed mine. It took me less than a half of an hour while talkng with these to see myself caught in the terrible error of "American hype Christianity." It is through meeting African people of Kent County, I found my own roots again, as they comforted me, and befriended me, while watching over me as I grieved, and worked to get my son, Malachi out ot the system which I have yet to accomplish. One young man of Sudan offered himself to me as a son to comfort me last year noticeing that my own children were unaware of my pain. I owe my life to people from Africa, who kept in contact with me from the early morning that I ran down the road to tell of how my son Malachi was stolen from me two years ago. Right up to this day they remain more than faithful, friends. America, and Kent County has not one idea what they are missing, or what they have here. They are clueless that they are now throwing away civil rigts with both hands, while blameing all things on President Obama. He did not "start this fire it was always burning since the world was turning," as the song goes. Watch, you will see a stronger nation arise perhaps. Africa and India will turn this around, is my guess. Rather than doing the kick butt actions we are so use to, they will do in patient, peace. Immigrants that people complain about might be those who work hard to build a better nation that does not shed inocent blood in order to gain peace, an economic security. I love my country, but tey just don't get it! There are some things taht you do not mess with andthat is the family, the elderly, the widows, the child, and people of special populations, and the gentle aliens that GOD sends to heal our land. American baby-boomers can participate once again, and turn this around if they want to look what we did in the seventees. We have a big mess to clean up all because we wanted it "our way." May GOD deliver us from our own way before our grandchildren suffer.

I had a high school English teacher who taught part of his course on "How to Kill a Compliment". We had to each write down twenty ways we kill a compliment when we receive one...and that was an easy thing to do. I will never forget this and to this day I catch myself if I start to kill one. It helped me to learn that just saying, "thank you" is enough instead of using false modesty to deflect those compliments.

Also I was a self defined "slow at math" person. I had a high school math teacher who's never ending patience and his own "slow methods" of teaching (while frustrating the faster math student), were just the pace I needed to absorb math. He was also so understanding and kind, that he would let me come into school early before classes started to individually tutor me on problems I was having in math. He was the only person who helped me to understand some math concepts and allow me to work at my pace. It was only with this teacher that I had any confidence at all in my math abilities.

As I listened to the program I was struck by the thought that the educational system in this country is fundamentally broken from the bottom to the top. I have, over the course of my 50-odd years on earth, spent nearly half of those years in some sort of formalized training. In fact, I am currently engaged in getting a masters degree online. I have also raised a child who has spent over two thirds of her 30 years in educational programs. I started school in the 50s, and being a good little middle-class WASP girl I obeyed all the rules and feared and respected the teachers, principals and authority-figures, to the point that as a child I accepted and never even mentioned to my parents that my first grade teacher tied students in our chairs and taped our mouths shut. Questioning a teacher was not a possibility. I expected to go to college and become a nurse or teacher, at least until I got married and had my own children. That was the path pre-ordained for girls like me in those days. However, I found a teacher in high school who taught me to question the assumptions, and the authorities that had given me those assumptions.

Since then, I’ve watched and learned. I’ve come to realize that most school principals are petty bureaucrats, that teachers are not all sinners or saints (I’ve known some of each), and that the educational systems in this country fail most of the children they touch. A few years ago I read that 80% of the children who graduate high school have lower self-esteem than they did when they entered kindergarten. When my daughter started college incoming students were required to take a self-esteem evaluation and kids who did poorly on it (the majority) were scheduled for counseling to help them survive their freshman year. How sad is that? Schools have become an assembly line that steals our children’s souls as it tries to mold them into acceptable tools for the industrial complex. I know that sounds like sixties style rhetoric, but it is all too uncomfortably true.
And if/when students survive high school, they are expected to mortgage their future to go to college, because without a college degree they are deemed worthless. Case in point, my husband has 25 years of experience as an engineer, but can’t find a new job because he doesn’t have a degree. He has to take whatever he can find because he doesn’t have that piece of paper. And because we can’t afford to take on sixty to eighty thousand dollars in debt to send him to school, and also support the family while he is there, he will not be getting the piece of paper. The thing is, intelligence doesn’t matter. If you can’t afford to go to college you are automatically tossed to the side. But if you can afford to go to college, then you can be a blithering idiot and still become President of the United States.
Unfortunately, we’ve built a system in which degrees and certifications make the difference between acceptance and failure. We’ve priced those degrees so high that our children must go into lifelong debt to get them. And we’ve accepted that those who have them are somehow superior to those who don’t. Yet, look at those academics in their universities and think tanks. They are not particularly intelligent. They are not particularly useful. They spend most of their time trying to convince everyone else (and themselves) of their inherent superiority. Meanwhile, their opinions and pronouncements have led this country into war, recession, confusion, ill-health, mean-spiritedness, division, elitism, and cruelty.

We need to rethink our system from the basic ABCs to the highest halls of academia.

I grew up in 1950 , Irish working class family near Youngstown, Ohio. Roman catholic school for eight years. Never knew anyone who wasn't working class either in steel mills or the auto industries or railroads. I was smart enough, but never the top of the line. Teachers were good and taught me well enough, but classes were big and I was just another kid. In high school I was in the college-bound classes but my friends were still all the working class kids. Didn't have a clue, until one day my high school English teacher said he thought I had "some talent" for writing. That's all it took! I was off and running. It wasn't easy, but I graduated from college and became a teacher. Even though I moved in the world of the "intellect" due to grad degrees and even some doctoral courses, I always felt between two worlds. I feel I learned valuable lessons in the working class world that aren't always learned if one is priveleged all through early life. Even though I was now a memeber of the educational group, I wound up teaching the poorest kids in the schools. Maybe it was the best place for me to be - I knew more about their lives than I did about children of the upper classes. I felt like the author on the show said: that the teachers who helped me most were those who helped me with life - not so much the coursework. Thank God I had teachers and professors who took the time to act as mentors to me. I've loved learning - and I love most the arts because they really touch the soul of a person. Sometimes poor children or kids who aren't academic never get exposed to any of the arts. Maybe it is better now - but it is through those classes that I learned to love life. I've written all my life - thanks to the kind words of one teacher who probably never gave it another thought. I wasn't his best student and he wasn't asking about my plans or helping me get into college. He opened a door and I knew he would read my stuff and give me feeedback. If one man or woman could do that for me, imagine what someone can really do if they try. I taught for 30 years and hope I helped some of my students the way he helped me, but teaching is one of the areas where you don't always know what happens. You do your best and hope.

In 1969, I was shuffling down the halls of my high school, staring at the floor, hair uncombed, shirt-tail out -- a typical high-school junior -- when my Latin and Greek teacher (who herself seemed ancient at the time) stopped me.

"Mr. Lowe," she barked. "Stand up straight! Brush that hair! Tuck in that shirt! You are a Classicist! Act like one!"

She meant to do no more, I'm sure, than discipline another slovenly student. In the process, though, she provided an answer to the questions that haunt every adolescent: "Who am I? And just what am I supposed to do on this planet?" Hers wasn't exactly the voice of God, but it was attention-getting nonetheless.

I carried her words with me through college and graduate school, and while life since then took a few unforeseen turns, I never forgot them. And today, many years later, in a second career I had long ago hoped would be my only one and long ago thought lost, I find myself again walking the halls of a high school, teaching Latin and Greek, and wondering if the day will come when I'll bark at a student, "You are a Classicist! Act like one!"

I would like to comment on Mike Rose's Meaning of Intelligence commentary. I would like to say that I agree with what he said about recognizing the amount of skill and intelligence that goes into the blue collar workforce. I am an electrician apprentice and am finding out first hand that the job is very complicated and you really need to know what you are doing in this trade. It is a learned trade and takes years of on the job training to become a master at it. I feel that if they had put some kind of emphasis on trade work in high school I could have started this sooner in life.

I also would like to comment on what he had said about our countries school system. Yes I do agree with him that the teachers need to create a nurturing learning environment that encourages learning, but I also think that our nations school teachers are grossly underpaid and that its kind of hard for them to give their 100% when they have to worry about things like pay cuts and furlough days and so forth.

My name is Lauren Barron and I am a family physician. I think the fact that my pediatrician when I was a child was a woman shaped me tremendously. She was an older woman, very matter of fact, so "matter of fact" in fact that it did not seem like a stretch at all when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up: a doctor. In retrospect I realize she was one of very few women physicians at that time, and I often wish I could have a convesation with her now, as an adult, about what her medical training was like. What seemed quite ordinary to me was in fact extraordinary. Later, in my teens, I was referred to a clinic for joint pain and there met another woman physician who was kind enough to invite me to lunch when I told her of my dream of doctoring. We set a date and my father dropped me off at a cafe off of Main, right in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. She spent an hour with me talking to me about the kinds of courses I would need to take, encouraged me to volunteer in the medical field, told me about the challenges of being a woman in medicine--she even gave me advice on what to wear during the interview process! She told me to WEAR RED! Years later I found myself in medical school, walking past the professional building where she worked and where I had my appointments, and walking past that same restaurant (now chinese instead of a deli)and I often thought of her through the years of training and on into residency. How extraordinary it was that she actually took time to take a little girl to lunch. During lectures on rheumatoid arthritis and some hereditary joint diseases I would remember her and realize that she must have been researching the gene I was just now learning about when she drew my and my family's blood, or realize she was ruling out this or that disease that I was just now reading about for the first time in a medical text book. The older I was, the longer in medical practice, the more amazed I became that a Fellow in a Rheumatology Residency took time out of her day to spend an hour with a shy and awkward girl from the blue collar part of town. Recently, at my desk with a rare 30 minute span of time, I wondered...maybe with the help of the internet I could actually track this woman down and thank her. I did not remember her name or much about her other than that she was from the east coast, and that she was working in the rheumatology department at a certain clinic. I was able to narrow the time frame to within a few years and lo and behold, the fellowship program at Baylor College of Medicine was able to provide me with a list of their fellows over that decade. There was only one woman on the list, so it had to be her. I was stunned when I read her name. It was Barron, just like mine...the same as my married name now. I could never have known that I would be like her in more ways than one. Now I am called Dr. Barron, just like her! A bizarre cosmic coincidence I guess, but somehow a special and heretofore secret confirmation that I was on my way in the past to my true vocation. I am grateful that I was able to find her via the Internet--something I never could have done 20 years ago--and send her a note, telling her this story, the same way I have told you now, and thanking her for seeing something in me that others would have overlooked. Many of us hope and wonder about making a difference in this life and many of us do. But we do not always get to see the fruit of the serendipitous seeds that we have planted along the way. I am grateful to have been part of a story that has circled back to the beginning, grateful that I could express my gratitude to Dr. Barron (albeit by email) for a moment we shared in time that marked me, a moment that she may not even have remembered (although she was too polite to say). It makes me mindful of the seeds and stories that I am scattering along my path today and every day...and the divine possibility in all of them, not to mention a sense of humor and playfulness that God must delight in as the Author and Finisher of stories like this one.

Plato Center, Illinois and the Story of Miss Lydia Jean Stafney The story goes that Plato Center, along with other Midwestern towns with ancient honorifics, such as Homer, Cicero, or Vergil, used their names as drawing cards to entice school teachers from the East. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the plains were plowed in northern Illinois, farmers who had moved there needed someone to teach their children the ways of civilization, not merely reading, writing, and arithmetic. So they would build a schoolhouse and advertise back East. But who would want to leave Boston for the plains? Naming someplace Plato Center seemed to be just the ticket to entice a teacher into thinking that here was a citadel of learning after all, amidst the corn and wheat. Respect for ancient Greece or Rome was part and parcel of our heritage from Europe, caught up in an enthusiasm for the ancient world at the time our nation was first founded. As new styles and allegiances brought changes along the coastal cities, that colonial classical heritage still prevailed in the country. To the settlers of the Midwestern plains the American Republic could be seen as just another version of the Roman one, with a need for constant vigilance to avoid yet another great decline. Besides, working in the fields brings you into daily contact with the past, together with a sense that the soil was more fertile once, in some Golden Age of Grain. Today Plato Center is more a memory than a village. The railway shipping dock is weathered bare. The General Store is no longer operating, with its combination of post office and dry goods. But a few old homes remain, along with an old gas station and a new school catering to the local area, growing new homes where once fields were furrowed. Many farms remain. The cemetery is the place to go to see the history of the town. Walking past the tombstones you can date the immigrations of farmers and of merchants, as each tried their luck in turn, with names etched on the stones from successively different countries further east in Europe. Then there are the smaller tombstones, designating the many graves of children, felled in waves by childhood diseases, influenza and diphtheria. Some were old enough to have studied in the now vanished one-room schoolhouse. I expect they learned Latin there, and I wonder who their teacher was. I can imagine some young schoolmaster or schoolmistress from Boston or Philadelphia, thoroughly educated in classical languages, having come by coach and horseback. I can imagine the disappointment that teacher must have felt, discovering the plainness of Plato Center and its isolation from the glory that was Greece and Rome. The only choice such a teacher would have had, in order to continue with her mission, would have been to make that altogether ancient world come alive in Plato Center, like a seed sown in the soil. To succeed at such an effort would also have required her to respect the ways of this new land, just as its people respected her. A century after Latin was first taught in Plato Center, rural high schools across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa have continued to teach Latin. And going back to the nineteenth century, there have continued to be Latin contests, much like old-fashioned spelling bees, only now pitching little towns against the suburbs and the cities. These small towns still often win, having the most dedicated Latin students. And there was a time when the best Latin teacher in the state of Illinois came from Batavia, some fifteen miles east of Plato Center. "Mica, mica parva stella." Twinkle, twinkle little star. Such was Lydia Jean Stafney's first Latin lesson in the Fall of 1958. She had replaced Miss Prior, who it was rumored had arrived to teach one morning still wearing her nightgown visibly trailing underneath her dress. How sensible it was to wear her nightclothes in the daytime, since she wouldn't have to change into them again at night. That is a sentiment many a worn-out teacher can appreciate, especially in the months of May or June. In rural Batavia, Latin was what you took if you had any ambitions to leave the town and go to college. There were four years offered in the high school: Latin I for grammar, Latin II for Caesar's Gallic Wars, Latin III and IV for Cicero and Vergil, with these last two classes mixed together in one class of five or ten. Now, I grant you, it was a language no one spoke, unless you were a monk, but no one spoke any other foreign tongues in Batavia, except for Swedish and Norwegian, which weren't offered in the schools. French was also given, but girls mostly took it. German had once been taught, until World War I made teaching it subversive. So, there we were in Latin class, assuming everyone in college had to study Latin too. First of all, there were the Adams twins, Art and Andy Adams, students of astonishingly clever intellect. Art now teaches business at the University of Louisville, while Andy finally retired from teaching Latin at Miss Stafney's alma mater. Then, of course, there was Honest Paul, who used to crib on his translations with notes inserted in the pages of his book. One day someone tripped him, as he was getting up in front of class to translate. He dropped his book, and the notes came flying out. Miss Stafney was mystified by his subsequent translation of an altogether different portion of the text, from a page he had hurredly retrieved. We called him Honest Paul thereafter. Since then he made amends and became a devoted social worker. Patty Roets became a clothing designer and Caryl Egerton a police dispatcher and rancher, Rodney Ross an archivist and Ron Leone a chemist. Pat Seaman got her Ph.D. from Texas. Another Latin student, Ralph Beck, ran for mayor of Batavia and later became the city attorney there, while Mary Holman is the one I came across again in Paris, after living in Algeria and then Japan, fluent in French, Japanese, and Arabic. She is now living in Maine, running a Middle Eastern restaurant with her Algerian husband. Terry Klopcic became a nuclear physicist working for the Defense Department. John Elwood became an engineer, subsequently a college teacher, though then all he really cared about was his apiary. I am a philosopher, having engraved myself in Miss Stafney's memory as the only student who ever volunteered to translate every single day. To make a dead language come alive requires co-operation from the students and from circumstance. Miss Stafney put it all together. For one thing there was our local chapter of the Junior Classical League, and our annual "slave auction," where upperclassmen in Latin II or III or IV would bid for freshmen novices to carry around their books, until they would be freed at our annual Spring banquet. By the time I was a senior and had accumulated sufficient capital, I spent it all on the prettiest Latin student in the freshman class. I wound up tutoring her and conjugating verbs for her. She wound up a cheerleader and ditched me for the captain of the wrestling team. But she got an "A" in freshman Latin, something I took pride in, despite a disappointed heart. To earn money for the banquet we hustled every game in town, from serving hot dogs at basketball games to decorating Homecoming floats for hire. We came in plain white togas to the banquet; it was years before designer sheets. And we came as our favorite Latin heroes: the Adams twins came as Rome's founders, Romulus and Rhemus, while I came as Cicero. It was the statewide Latin contests that fundamentally transformed our lives. As athletes trained their bodies, so we trained our minds. Yet the sense of competition was merely the incentive Miss Stafney employed to entice us after school to read books on Roman history and do endless sight translations. At one point we had memorized all the Latin mottos of the various United States, not to mention the first hundred lines of the Aeneid. Soon things escalated among those of us entered in the contests, and over one summer we began to write our own Latin compositions to each other. And as our high school basketball and baseball teams began to go Down State, so we won first place prizes in the district, regional, and statewide Latin contests. Latin prizes were our incentive, but it was what we learned in preparing for the contests that proved so important to our lives. Mental discipline, like physical prowess, only comes with exercise. Just as the aspiring basketball player spends hours every summer shooting baskets on his own, so we spent that same amount of time with vocabulary lists and Latin passages to read. It was also the first experience any of us had had in pure intellectual excitement. Study was no longer something you did for someone else, but something you did because you wanted to. Lydia Jean Stafney taught us that. Except for Kenny Anderson of the Cincinnati Bengals and Dan Issel of the NBA, most of Batavia's great athletes never left the town, and the high points of their lives were sometimes over by the time they were eighteen. With Miss Stafney's students it was different. After all, how can you keep them down on the farm, once they've read some Cicero and Vergil and been to ancient Rome, if only in their minds?

Being able to see my own potential happened fairly late in my teens and incrementally from then on.
The turning point arrived when I failed 11th grade. In the German school system that means having to redo the entire school year. I essentially let myself fail because I was completely burned out from school and suffering from what I see now to have been depression. All educational emphasize at my high school had been put on the sciences (math, physics, chemistry, biology all to a very advanced level) which had the consequence that arts, music, and sports kept getting cut more and more out of the schedules. This lopsided education numbed me until I gave up.
I'm an artist and earn my living with my art now. In retrospect it grieves me seeing how close my spirit was to throwing in the towel. The reason why I survived this dark time was because my parents, who were very worried about my mental state at that time, let me change schools.
For 11th-13th grade (Germany's "gymnasium system had at this point still 13 grades)I commuted to an all-girls school with a social science bend to it. Maybe it had also to do with it being located in a convent but for the first time I encountered two or three teachers who made me feel like I too have the smarts needed to not just make it in this world but to have a worth. I all of a sudden was in an environment in which I was able to allowed myself to believe that I am actually smart and acceptable to society. I finally felt, even though just subconsciously, addressed as a whole human being rather than just an inadequate left brain hemisphere.
I had an epiphany in German class in which my teacher, who was the most eloquent and bright woman I had encountered so far, called to our attention the simple fact that if we don't know the answer to something then we only need to grab an encyclopedia and look it up... who woul've known?! Up until that point I had always marveled at how some kids always new answers to things teachers had not yet talked about. Had they been born embedded with facts in their brains? From then on there was no stopping me.
Now, after 6 years of intense art school, I am at a point where I am living a life full of urgency and meaning lead every day by my passion.
I can't thank my soul enough for hanging in there during those dark years and for initiating my awakening.

As an art educator, it's always been a frustration to know and understand that it is the arts and the non-verbal expression that is the inter-disciplinary entity that overlaps into all subject areas. The arts give children all the criteria for creativity which has nothing to do with "drawing a straight line" by the way. The fluency of ideas, originality of ideas, ability to redefine a use for an object, the courage to try something what allows someone to try out something new in math, science, literature not just visual art. These ideas were advocated by Victor Lowenfeld at Penn. State back in the 40's. They are not new ideas, but educators certainly have a way of perpetuating the very things that don't work instead of considering the wholistic view of the brain and child.
The very child, shunned in the back corner for bad behavior, would always blossom when allowed to express. Yet to this day, we still have to justify the arts which are notoriously underfunded when one considers the attitudes toward football and basketball in our time. Let the children know the arts and there will be peace in the world.

Re whale songs and elephant loves: For me, one of the most beautiful books about elephants is Romain Gary's The Roots of Heaven. I have always loved elephants and I am not only drawn to them, but I sculpt them and was in fact, looking at one of my ceramic elephants just before reading this beautiful interview on Speaking of Faith.
I did know about whales, that they communicate for a long distance but I didn't know about this about high frequency sounds and elephants. I was thinking about this very topic the other night when we had a mighty storm here on the Cape, in New England, and one could clearly hear the wind whistling. I was thinking about how animals hear sounds we do not pick up, and about the sensitivity of other antennas. We are surrounded by the souls of animals, and we are in same but different worlds of more than just sensory experience.

I would say there are so many moments that shape a life, and that we do remember some with an almost photographic kind of clarity, and the very special times do precipitate out in our lives, and these times follow us through life and do inform our lives.

For me it was a kind of epiphany that had to do with letters, as I saw the Hebrew letters made out of rainwater, shining in the moonlight, after I had attended a class in Kabbala, Jewish mysticism. This was a shared experience as I and my friend Sarah saw this together. I have never forgotten this, and as it has happened, my life seems dominated since by an increasing awareness of the words, and letters, and I feel gifted in seeing something very deep about words themselves, and how they do reflect in our lives in deep and unexpected ways.

For me, since this beautiful interview was about elephants and whales, I will say, that elephants have been a part of my life for a long long time. I am attracted to them as I have said. I found a beautiful holiday card that showed a mother and baby elephant walking by a woodland and the caption read, In Step. There is something about elephants, about how they care for each other, about a kind of humanity in adopting children who are abandoned when their parents are injured, their burial of the dead, their social structure. And then there was this terrible poaching of elephants for ivory. And I am so aware of ivory in piano keys, And for me the true key in all this is compassion, and if keys are about music, then why do we kill to create music, a creature so wonderful, so noble, so more than, human?

For me I guess life has taught many lessons about humanity and inhumanity, and maybe it was the critical events that plunged me into despair as a child, because I was so criticized by my father for so many little things. He said he wanted perfect, but nobody can be perfect. And what is, perfect? But this drew me inwards, and to go inwards is to meditate on what it is to be human, to think about identity, and for me, to be on the cutting edge of a father's criticism, as parents are for a child, so often their first gods, well, maybe this had so much to do with a burgeoning and total spirituality and questioning of what it is, to be alive, and where meaning is to be found.

I look forward to reading other submissions. I think this is such a wonderful program!

I had a sense of wonderment while listening to Katy Payne describe the music of
the whale as complex and every evolving, and her description of the feeling of
the pressures and pulsations in the air when she was with the elephants. I
could hear the emotion put forth from both the elephants and the whales in the
songs and sounds they made. It made me realize just how much there is still to
learn about not just these two creatures, but everything else that lives on
this planet with us.

In the past whenever I heard about endangered species, I thought about
poaching. In listening to Katy, it really struck home how there are many
interactions between humans and animals and many times it is unintentional
things that can cause the endangerment of a species. This is reason for us to
think about how our actions may affect the environment and other species.

I could feel Katy's respect for the human society, but even more her true love
and passion for the environment and the planet we live on. I feel that God has
put us on this earth as the dominant species, but along with this comes the
responsibility of respecting the environment and all the other animals that
share this planet with us.

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.

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 : The Do Good Gauge Google Gadget :

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. 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.

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
Archronica Architects

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 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.

I listened to Mike Rose's discussion on the meaning of intelligence. Mike Rose is an author and a professor. He talks about how he didn't do so well in school and his childhood experience with education. His scores got mixed up with another student and he was put in a college prep class when he wasn't able to understand the basic things he was already supposed to learn. He addressed the issue of how IQ tests don't necessarily determine intelligence truly. He uses the example of his mother being a waitress. She is able to memorize the customers orders, know everything that is going on in the restaurant, and serve everyone in a timely manner, etc. These many skills that she uses in her manual labor job aren't tested on the IQ tests and these skills are needed in life. Rose also addresses the "no child left behind" act. He states that its a good thing because many students are left behind by standardized school curriculums that don't address these students. The students he is referring to are the poor, minorities, and immigrants. This act ensures that these students are properly attended to and not left behind in the education system.

I agree with the points the Rose brings up because many of the students that don't succeed in school are the poor, minorities and mmigrants which is unfair to just leave these students behind because they aren't as advantaged as the students that succeed in school. I also agree that intelligence can't be based only on an IQ test because not every aspect of "intelligence" is measured on there such as memory, etc. With standardized education, I think many aspects can become lost. For example, immigrants and minorities can lose some of their culture by trying to conform to the US education system which has no room for their culture. I also believe that many aspects that are needed for labor jobs are lost because of the standardized education. Skills needed for labor jobs aren't being taught and instead skills needed for non labor and more higher up jobs are being taught such as chemistry, etc. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing I'm just pointing out how education has changed. IQ tests seem to measure aspects that are taught in school, but what about those who choose labor jobs? The IQ test doesn't measure the intelligence they have and therefore aren't so accurate. Overall, this podcast was great and made me think about the education system and measures of intelligence which I never really considered.

I listened to Mike Rose's discussion on the meaning of intelligence. Mike Rose is an author and a professor. He talks about how he didn't do so well in school and his childhood experience with education. His scores got mixed up with another student and he was put in a college prep class when he wasn't able to understand the basic things he was already supposed to learn. He addressed the issue of how IQ tests don't necessarily determine intelligence truly. He uses the example of his mother being a waitress. She is able to memorize the customers orders, know everything that is going on in the restaurant, and serve everyone in a timely manner, etc. These many skills that she uses in her manual labor job aren't tested on the IQ tests and these skills are needed in life. Rose also addresses the "no child left behind" act. He states that its a good thing because many students are left behind by standardized school curriculums that don't address these students. The students he is referring to are the poor, minorities, and immigrants. This act ensures that these students are properly attended to and not left behind in the education system.

I agree with the points the Rose brings up because many of the students that don't succeed in school are the poor, minorities and mmigrants which is unfair to just leave these students behind because they aren't as advantaged as the students that succeed in school. I also agree that intelligence can't be based only on an IQ test because not every aspect of "intelligence" is measured on there such as memory, etc. With standardized education, I think many aspects can become lost. For example, immigrants and minorities can lose some of their culture by trying to conform to the US education system which has no room for their culture. I also believe that many aspects that are needed for labor jobs are lost because of the standardized education. Skills needed for labor jobs aren't being taught and instead skills needed for non labor and more higher up jobs are being taught such as chemistry, etc. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing I'm just pointing out how education has changed. IQ tests seem to measure aspects that are taught in school, but what about those who choose labor jobs? The IQ test doesn't measure the intelligence they have and therefore aren't so accurate. Overall, this podcast was great and made me think about the education system and measures of intelligence which I never really considered.

I have mastering problems in addition to ended up being put rear from the thus known as "smart" type in 6 rank. It had been any devasting encounter, even though My spouse and i was not stunned. My spouse and i understood our numbers abilities had been quite fragile. My spouse and i evolved into the actual computer mouse button behind the actual class room for the majority of connected with our center school in addition to senior high school vocation. It had been just right after our new mother advocated to me to be able to be allowed to carry an consistently improves program in Humanties that we was handed the actual reward of any redefination connected with personal duct tapes creations. Sister Agnes Therese saw our likely in addition to known as me out there right after type. Your lover besides provided me an obvious in addition to honest assessment although spelled out her class room expectations to me -- no longer computer mouse button!

This show meant so much to me when I first heard it, and I just started listening to it again today. My husband is one of those who has been treated differently because he did not finish high school, although he is very intelligent and sensitive-he tunes in to things that others miss. And then *I* have felt put in a box because of marrying him, because I have a graduate degree. There have been inferences that I sold myself short because I did not marry someone who was doing more with himself. Today when I listened to this again, it confirmed why I love this man. There is so much more to love than being matched with someone of the same type of education or intelligence. Don't get me wrong-there are things that I have experienced that he has not and likewise. But I have no regrets. What we have shared goes far beyond the superficial. Oh yes, the pleasure is all mine. I am blessed.

First, I love On Being, and this interview with Mike Rose is an extraordinary and much needed conversation! I have a small bone to pick with a point that seemed implicit (and probably unintentional) in part of Rose's interview. He argues persuasively for the complex intelligence inherent in most kinds of work and for responsibility of the education system to recognize and nurture students' capacities so they can achieve rich and fulfilling lives that reflect their abilities and interests. But in emphasizing the need to overcome obstacles that prevent many children from attending college, he seemed to miss an another important point - a corollary to recognition of the intelligence and rewards of many working-class occupations: there are many students who could attend college but for whom a life and career in a trade or other occupation that doesn't require a college education would be the most satisfying and fulfilling. A system, school, or teacher that recognizes such occupations as worthy and fulfilling, requiring sophisticated skills and intelligence of various kinds, will support a student's inclinations.

I am a white, privileged son of two teachers, and attending college was never a question for me or my brother - or my wife or my daughter - and we all thrived on that path. But I have long been aware of the the inequities in the system and the ways it (not necessarily its teachers) disparages or ignores many kinds of intelligence and limits the opportunities afforded its students.

Our daughter attended a remarkable 40-year-old alternative public middle and high school in a small college city. Admission is by lottery, weighted so as to achieve a rich balance of socio-economic status, race and culture, rural vs. urban origin, and so on. It takes a whole-child approach and focuses on building on and developing a child's assets and interests. My daughter was headed for college, but she has friends for whom that was not the right direction, and the school devoted as much energy and attention to a student who was drawn, for example, to technical, hands-on work in a trade. When a student's inclination not to go on to college is based on resignation or lack of confidence, a school community may be able to help the student turn that around, but when the choice is a positive one rooted in authentic interests and desires, it should be honored and supported.

Listening to Mike Rose and Krista Tippet helped direct me on my next steps in my classroom research. It was amazing to hear Mike Rose's more recent thoughts and see how they parallel the direction of my research on dynamic ways to teach and assess Developmental English and ESL at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Mike Rose's approach to teaching and learning validates the work I've been doing for at the last 15+ years. Using Bloom's Taxonomy to frame my argument, I've been designing an approach to teaching academic English at an urban community college that allows under-prepared students to work on the higher rungs of the taxonomy (comprehension, analysis/synthesis, evaluation and creation) by providing supports at the very bottom rung of basic "knowledge" (e.g., testing and rewriting with notes, dictionaries and computer resources available). In this way, tests become a pedagogical tool as well as an assessment tool.

The beauty and magic of education happen when teachers are able to capture the students interests, motivation and goals and keep them focused on the opportunities ahead even when they are in a pre-college English class. Such an approach matches the logo of the College: The Path to Possibilities!

While pursuing a graduate degree in comparative literature I tutored college freshmen who struggled with writing. For fun I also took a beginning ballet course. The ballet teacher would assign us a series of moves which we were then to imitate. I was unbelievably bad at repeating what I had just seen performed. Expertise in making my body perform would obviously mean working grooves in pathways in my brain which were still slick as ice. And so it was with the enormous athlete who sat before me all but breaking out in a cold sweat as he gripped his pen. Having struggled and failed at the physical intelligence required in the ballet studio informed my view of this powerhouse who was able to understand and replicate intricate patterns of physical moves under great pressure on a football field. And not only that: he had dozens of them memorized and could improvise in a split second. It was a lesson I never have forgotten: that there are different kinds of intelligence and they are all worthy of respect.

Now that I am 81, it is of little use to regret things done and left undone. However, as I look back on my childhood, youth, and early manhood, I want my grandchildren to avoid the life I have had. It has been mostly disappointment. As a child entering the first grade, there was no kindergarten for me or other pre-school activities. The result, I found learning almost everything was difficult. I had trouble with letters, with words, with numbers. There was no way for me to overcome these learning difficulties. I liked pictures and storytelling and wanted things imaginative, like plays; this all seemed trivial. I daydreamed all through grammar school--held back in the fourth grade for not progressing. In high school, the same things happened. I had trouble with sentence diagrams and algebra. Quickly reading and absorbing material hampered my education. All through my education, I wanted help, answers to my questions, patience with my slowness. Nowhere did I get the attention, patience, and understanding I needed. I couldn't blame my parents. They had barely a grammar school education. Neither of them knew how to help. However, I finally worked my issues out on my own--all the way through college. The school systems of my childhood were unyielding in their indifference. I have few good memories of school. Some teachers I remember as kind, but most I cannot remember their names. I wish I could say, "Mrs. So-and-so made all the difference," but there was none. Everything has come by perseverance rather than by encouragement. Fortunately, in my youth, I didn't have to deal with the SAT or ACT. A C average grade and recommendations were college entry criteria. I joined the military service and became skillful enough to earn a commission in the Army. It wasn't until I retired from the Army that I realized I had finally organized my thinking processes. I passed the GRE and talked my way into a graduate school, earning an MA and EdD. Not even in graduate school did I receive the mentoring support I needed. I suppose my point is, teachers, be patient, Listen, mentor and help, and I provided a time for discovery. Mostly encourage children to have feelings and express them. The realization for me as I reviewed my life was everyone learns their way, in their style, and at their pace.

Excited to be hearing this at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. Will be using in my English classes, where I am beginning the year exploring what it takes to be a "productive" member of society and what skills they might practice in my class. I am trying to "bust the notion of meaningfulness open" as well, with students who have been so condition to believe that the only job is doctor/lawyer/engineer, even if they won't find the work meaningful.

Mike Rose's "Lives on the Boundary" has guided my education philosophy and practice. Thank you, Mike Rose.

Wonda Barr
Thank you

I listened and tremenduosly enjoyed the on air program on September 6, 2015 on NPR. I wish to thank you for this topic. What I believe is a travesty of what is being done to Education in this country. I am foreign born and employed as a "Training Specialist" (technical trade educator) with a Bachelor Degree after being a successful trades worker who originally dropped out of high school. There's a dangerous trend in education occurring today. We're excluding a critical component of education. As you or Krista mentioned, we need education professionals to teach young people to learn "How to Learn" and to think about how to solve problems in unexpected situations. This must be done in the early grades and then students can succeed in any area they wish. I was very fortunate to have many teachers who encouraged and pushed me to keep learning. Fortunate to enter into the military and benefit from the GI bill. Very fortunate to be accepted into the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Service Technicians Union (UA). Where the UA's apprenticeship programs are a path to great "meaningful" careers. All jobs are meaningful if they pay enough and are respected enough.
Thank you for providing this forum.
Rodrigo Jara

I'm a professor and community advocate and Mike Rose put my philosophy of learning and work into words in this interview. Good teaching is where "skill and knowledge is integrated into some kind of human connection... the personal and cognitive is not a dichotomy". In my early school days, I had no framework that linked school with learning, careers, college or personal development. It seems, my early education taught me how not to exist. Much of my time was spent hiding in the back of the class avoiding eye contact with the implicit agreement of teachers who never asked me any questions. One particular bad moment was in music class, I sang out loud with a sense of freedom to Cat Steven's Morning has Broken. My music teacher approached me from the back and said quietly, "just mouth the words". This incident marked the deep feeling of shame and unworthiness I felt in music and all my classes, but her words sanctioned my permanent invisibility in the school setting. I was a C student with no understanding of what I was studying and I didn't have to try to change it.

At 13, I ended up moving from London to New York with the opportunity to reinvent myself. In New York, I didn't bring the label of a poor student and I took the risk and tried to learn. These teachers generated new expectations of me and overnight I went from the "C" student to their perception of smart and bright. At enrollment, they skipped me a grade.

Today, I teach and design programs with no assumptions of what students can and cannot do. We just work together with a mindset that anything and everything is possible.

Hmmm. You give me hope. I'm starting a teacher ed program in mid-life (at least I HOPE it's midlife!). I'm a violin teacher privately, but a lot of the time I'm painfully aware of how limited my toolbox is. I believe firmly in the power of "hand learning" and physical technique in strengthening and enhancing all learning but I've been worried how I'll hold my own in a system (I'm a bit of a non-system type of person). Wish me luck. Hoping I can create a space that fosters those kinds of special moments you mention in this discussion...

Why? Tell me why?

I am writing this on Sunday, September 6, 2015 after listening to Krista Tippett interviewing Mike Rose on the NPR program, “On Being”. You may be one of the fortunate ones who knows or has known Mike Rose personally, has previously been introduced to him via his books or have been fortunate enough to be his student. I had not had the privilege of meeting him or even hearing of him previously. Given the similarity of some of his interest in education and what works means to that of Studs Terkel who is best known for his 1974 book, Working in which he chronicles his time and interviews with working men and women in the United States, I am surprised that I had not previously discovered him.

Who is Michael Rose? One could be very “proper”/“traditional” and introduce him as a college professor and author of many books. On could also introduce him as the poor boy that was a poor student and, against all odds, got a doctorate degree and now teaches at a very prestigious university. One could also introduce him as a person who is passionate about education. All of these descriptive terms, while, accurate, would not describe the man I “met” while listening to Mrs.Tippett’s interview of him September 6, 2015. The man I heard interviewed was this loving, observant, present, humble person who sat in a restaurant in Altoona, Pennsylvania with his disabled father admiring and observing his mother and others working as wait person in this
down home (my term) restaurant. As a young child he observed the enormous number of skills it takes to be an effective/helpful wait person – memory (short and long term), organization, sensitivity to what the customer is feeling and needing, physical agility, multi-tasking and endurance. Later he would observe and talk about the many skills required for many jobs, which are, have been historically and often somewhat derisively referred to as vocational jobs versus opposed professional jobs. The elite of the society – the privileged (including financial remuneration) -score well on so called intelligence tests and are considered smart or wise while, for decades those who did not do well on such tests were labeled as the dumb kids and assigned to the vocational track in school. Mike Rose was such a kid who accidently got put into a different track and got “noticed” in his senior year in high school by a very observant English teacher, Jack McFarland.

As Dr. Rose pointed there has been some breakdown in this attempt at binary duality in schools, but this is such a historic duality beginning with Aristotle and the preparation for “civil” society that it is not a tension, which will be easily dissolved.

The brilliance of Dr. Rose is co-joined with who he is spiritually. When Dr. Rose is teaching he does not first focus on the parts – the memorization of facts – but on giving the student a picture of the whole and then how one builds that whole. In other words, in my mind, Dr. Rose focuses on what is it one is attempting to teach/introducing the student to this “picture” or the concept. I think a part of what he is attempting to communicate is that we humans can and will learn if we understand the purpose of this knowledge. If I am told to memorize something, which does not have meaning to me, I will not be interested in learning and may think I cannot learn. I have, for examples, known people, sometimes clients, who considered themselves dumb or unable to do math. Yet, these very same clients could organize and run a business, which included the use of complicated math skills. The fact that the business might be illegal was not related to what skills were required. In fact, some times an illegal business takes additional skills. I have know home managers, often women, who tell me that they cannot do math and yet they can multiply or divide a recipe, organize and manage a budget, and use geometrical skills to arrange a room.

I am again intrigued with the concept of education. I turned to the on line version of the Oxford dictionary.
It says education is:
• The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
• The theory and practice of teaching
• A body of knowledge acquired while being educated.

As I have previously said, what amazes me about this definition is that the definition is not related to the purpose of learning something. It seems to me that Dr. Rose would agree with me that if we are going to discuss the concept of education, we have to talk about what both Mrs. Tippett and Dr. Rose refer to as the meaningfulness of work. If not careful when we talk about “meaningful” it can become a very elitist term.

What does it mean for work to have meaning? How is education related to introducing the student to the subject of meaning? Obviously, as Dr. Rose and Mrs. Tippett point out job title alone does not tell us whether a job is meaningful to the individuals. They use the example of the unhappy neurosurgeon. Obviously, the skill of neurosurgeon is as valuable as that of the plumber, the cook, the builder, or the person who works on an assembly line to make the stove on which I will cook my meals today. I am personally very grateful for the neurosurgeons who have taken care of friends of mine who needed their services. I am just as grateful to the people who designed and built my cooking range. Sadly the neurosurgeon’s motivation for practicing this profession might be to make a lot of money. The motivation of the factory worker might be to feed his or her family. We know that money alone will not create a meaningful job or life and we also know that not having enough money to feed one’s family will diminished the meaningfulness of a job or life for some individuals.

What then might make a job meaningful to an individual? Certainly an internal sense that the job one is doing is contributing, in some manner, to making the world a more just and loving place is necessary. It also helps if one works for and/or with individual who value the work and the worker.

Anyone who has been a parent knows that one of the first words a child learns to communicate (by voice, touch, or in some other manner) is why! They ask ‘why” many times. If encouraged these children will continue to ask ‘why’ for the rest of their lives. If the parents or other adults respond with “Because I said so, “It just is” or “Stop asking so many questions.” the child may stop asking why.

It seems to me that to call a process education it must first answer the question of why. As I have discussed in past blogs, the answer might be as simple as “One paints or plays music or dance because one does it to exist. One cannot not do it.” The answer might be multi-faceted as it was when Dr. Rose interviewed his mother about her job. It not only fed her family but also got her out into a larger world. The job also permitted her to provided a wonderful and important service.

I often talk to young men and women who are attempting to decide or have decided about the next stage of their life post high school. Often they are feeling a lot of pressure to learn a skill that will allow them to make money. As the cost of college/university education has increased this issue is even more in the forefront for many. Fortunately there is also a move to re-introduce the apprentice system for many occupations. The question, which many of these same students do not ask or are not encouraged, to ask out loud is, “Why?” Why go to college or trade school or become an apprentice? Why make money? Are we going to work in a job we hate (over 70% of the population of the United States) so that we can raise and educate children to take a job that they hate so that they can? Really?

The other day, I was talking to the trainer who is working with me at the YMCA. He is getting ready to take a test for additional certification. He is anxious about the test. I asked him what his girlfriend would say is his most valuable quality/characteristic? I suggested she would say his heart. He agreed that she would say that. My sense of this young man is that he is lovingly present no matter what he is doing. Whether he is helping people as an exercise trainer, cooking a meal for his girlfriend, talking with a clerk in a store his overt or covert goal is to treat others with love and respect. At some point he has learned to take a metaphysical approach to all of life. Whether that essential education came from his parent, another influential adult, a teacher or it just clicked for him he figured out that he must first explore “first principles” concepts of being and knowing.

Written September 6, 2015

"Creative person wanted. Must be good with people." Why not? Perhaps why, is a better question. It was one of those situations where if you knew what you were getting into you wouldn't be getting into it. But I did. The reason I did was because I was one hell of a cocktail waitress. It was not the undergraduate or eventual graduate degree that allowed me to function in the chaos of a long career in what is often described as behavior management. It was the bar and restaurant work. It was the ability to size up what was going on in a room, to anticipate needs, to de-escalate the volatile and when necessary call the police.

Not all of it was high drama. Much of it was simple attentiveness to the needs of others. It is amazing what a well-timed drink of cool water can do. A good bit of it was pure endurance. The chaos often came in waves and when it did, I would remember the words of an old-school waiter at a high-end restaurant: "Let's rock-n-roll" he would say as he crushed out his cigarette. Twelve hours later as the waiters tipped us out, we busfolk remained to clean up. And as I stood in a well-smeared bathroom that housekeeping would not have time to get to before another patient did, I would once again reach deep down, get the job done. Of course, I wasn't alone in this . There is a great comradarie in such experiences . It is the one aspect of my work I truly miss. Because, eventually, I had to move on.

I discovered that severe pain can really nix the mix of kindness, hypervigilence and humor necessary to assist people in distress. Frankly it also affects my ability to interact with people period. So what is a person who answers the call of "must be good with people" to do. It's taken a couple of years and a couple of stumbles to discover that the joy and comfort physical activity is not only possible but essential to my well-being. Pain doesn't interfere so much with pruning of shrubs, picking fruit, weeding , feeding of animals and mucking of stalls. I can organize my body and organize my time according to my needs. The work gets done and I feel better for it. And the people I meet seem to take solace in the same.

Thanks for the program. It never fails to inspire. Peace.

I enjoyed very much the interview with Mike Rose today. Thanks Krista for doing it. i am a college professor and a mother of a 19 year old boy who had a very hard time during grade school and is now convinced he is not smart. i agree so much with what Mike said about the fact that, as educator and even as parents, if our child/student appears to learn differently and is not as quick in learning or math computation, we assume, wrongly, that there is a deficiency. But there is son is a puzzle, for instance. he cant do basic multiplication tables, but speaks fluent Italian and can effortlessly move from one culture to another...anyway, we need more of this language to think new thoughts and raise our youth as human beings

I am reminded in this discussion that Charles Schulz didn't do well in school and we have lots of evidence of his thinking. Think of Sally, Peppermint Patty and Rerun and their experience with school. No one can deny his intelligence and wisdom. When his Mom died, his family had to turn to another faith tradition pastor when his Lutheran tradition didn't feel his family was a regular part of their congregational life. His Dad worked as a Barber and the only day his Dad had free was Sundays. Often Charles and his Dad would go fishing on Sundays. Just passing on a thought.

Thank you Mr. Rose. I went to college and was a waitress for many years. (English major.) I now work at the Oregon Zoo as a animal nutrition technician; i.e. I haul a lot of hay and do a lot of heavy manual labor. I am almost 60 years old and I am so so happy to combine my many selves in my work, my home life, my life as a mother and wife and my intellectual life. I see the honor of all work. I have always instinctively felt the truth of what you are saying in regards to the intelligence and abilities of many kinds of workers. I have always instinctively felt that our culture needed to re-evaluate our notions of what is valuable in work and education and the different sparks in the children. Your mother is one of the heros of our world.

Pair this episode with this poem by Marge Piercy:

To be of use
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

In the USA, more than half of kids can't write and name all of the alphabet letters after two years of school, yet all kids entering school, with proper teaching and enough practice, can write and name all of the letters in 40 seconds or less, doing away with reading problems and revolutionizing schools. My email address is

Zen and the Art of Scraping By

he believed you did the job
with what you had at hand
faucet furnace handlebar skate
all held together working fine
with a hacksaw and a file

now that I’ve outlived him
and the bookish education
sweated from their paychecks
has become the kind of tool
he always had in mind

I’d like one more chance
to stand just off his shoulder
and hold the goddamn flashlight
as if it mattered to me
as much as it did to him

John Cruze - Labor Day 2015

Thanks for another deeply thoughtful and engaging interview. I've followed Mike Rose's inspiring and insightful work for many years, but it was particularly interesting to hear him talk about his teaching of adults. Amazingly, he described exactly the teaching strategies that I am now using with great success with nearly 10 adult learners who are struggling to conquer this new GED. Our work together uncovers each person's numerous remarkable developed competencies and applies those strengths in exciting ways to the literate world that surrounds them. The strategy of using a person's practical strengths to unlock the mysteries of reading and writing has made what seemed so difficult to these students not just accessible but great fun for all of us. All education could find so much more success if we'd go 'back to the future' to rediscover the wisdom of practical knowledge as a foundational starting point for more formal learning.

Help - I just sent forward a reflection Mike Rose's interview but I don't think my email address was correctly registered. I'm a serious contributor - please see and use the correct email address above. Thanks.

Annie Parsons's picture

Hi Ellen,

Never fear - your comment came through, and has been published above. Love your idea of "back to the future" education - and we're so glad to hear that Mike Rose's perspective rings true in your own teaching. We're rooting for your students!

I thank everyone who inspire me to write. This year has been good roaring with excitement and I find several online media sites letting my graduate work up and running. Either physical or intellectual, all jobs are meant to sustain our global participation. From the corner restaurant in Embarcadero, the U.S Post office in Tompkinsville, or at the Plaza sidewalk going to Central Park trails, I definitely believe we are free.