In the last few decades there has been a huge push to develop an open floor plan in most offices. Yet now that the research is in, we know open floor plans are terrible for the workplace.

The same can be said of the classroom. There are no cubbies, cubicles, or private areas in a classroom, which is important for a teacher who is attempting to educate and discipline up to thirty kids at a time. And there is research to show that the detriments of an open work environment are not limited to one age group—young people dislike the open environment as well. Read more

In the United States, our education system stinks. But parents in “good school districts” tell themselves they are different.  The problem with this logic is that it’s precisely those economically advantaged kids who don’t need school. Read more

This is a guest post from Angel Mulhearn who is mother to two kids ages 5 and 3. Prior to that she was a kindergarten teacher. Angel is also my sister-in-law who lives on the farm next door to ours.  She took her son out of school a few months ago. This is the list of reasons she wrote to explain to people who asked why she was doing it. 

1. Sitting still for 7 hours a day is not developmentally appropriate for children who are 5 or 6 years old. 
The first week of school, our son was beyond exhausted at the end of the day. Our normally energetic, spirited boy who loves to ride his bike, climb trees in the yard, and run away from “bad guys” was too tired to play outside. Even on the most beautiful warm days of September and October, he would say he wanted to “go inside to rest.” Read more

Coke sponsored a contest to see who could come up with a new bottle top to make an empty Coke bottle useful again. Read more

There is big debate among academics about whether patriotism and nationalism should be a goal of public education. On the surface, the debate is whether nationalism leads to nefarious practices (war, for example), or whether nationalism is a prerequisite for making a sacrifice to the community, which is a prerequisite for distributive justice. Read more

I expected that homeschooling would make me militant. After all, I get asked all the time, “Why do you homeschool?” And the only reasonable answer is that I think school is bad/stupid/useless/dishonest/whatever so I took my kids out. Read more

A veteran teacher shadowed two students for two days and then wrote about her experience. She has a lot of good observations but her overwhelming takeaway is that sitting all day is exhausting. Even as a teacher for decades in classrooms, she never realized how much kids sit and how physically and emotionally painful that experience is.

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When I was dating my husband and he was trying to get rid of me (over and over again) he would frequently invoke the idea that if my kids and I moved to his farm, we’d be snowed in a lot. “You might get snowed in ten or fifteen days a winter.”

The idea seemed glorious, and only served to make me more persistent every time he tried to break up.  Read more

I read about families in Israel that settle the West Bank. I am a Jewish person who is horrified by the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel, but I don’t have any good solution, so I’m reticent to pass judgment. Mostly, I just try to do good when I have the opportunity.

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This is an excerpt from the book Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton. The book is a compendium of street photography and stories from the people in the pictures.

“His grandmother and I are raising him. I worry about putting him into the public school system. I was a teacher for many years. I’ve seen so much confidence destroyed by the standardized system.
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