Tuesday, November 25, 2008
, because the school system is held up as an example for education,” says Kevin Carey, the research and policy manager at Education Sector. In the past, the city’s failure was taken as proof that urban public education wasn’t working. Rhee’s goal is to make Washington a showcase proving that view wrong. If she succeeds, she could have a stunning impact on American public education.The Atlantic "The Lighting Rod" -Michelle Rhee article
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thurs. Dec. 11: Leave Atlanta
Friday, Dec. 12: Interview in DC
Sat. Dec. 13: Drive to PA (130 miles)
Mon. Dec. 15: Interview in PA; Drive to NYC (110 miles)
Tues. Dec. 16: Interview in NYC
Wed. Dec. 17: Interview in NYC
Thurs. Dec. 18: Drive to RI (150 miles) Do interview; drive to Boston (about an hour drive)
Friday, Dec. 19: Interview in Boston
Monday, November 17, 2008
Teaching of academic subjects as lesson "blocks"
In both the elementary school and secondary school, most academic subjects are taught in "main lesson" blocks of 3-5 weeks. For these blocks, each pupil writes and illustrates a "main lesson book" representing the material learned in the block.
 Language and literature
In Waldorf education writing and reading are introduced at age six or seven; Beginning with oral storytelling, a Waldorf child listens to and summarizes oral language. Then, using imaginative pictures of sounds (e.g. a snake shape for the letter "s"), the children gradually learn the abstract letter forms, and move on to phonetics, spelling, grammar and punctuation. After recording their own stories and illustrations in personal books, children learn to read from the words they wrote themselves. In secondary school, there is an increased focus on literature. 
Formal instruction in numeracy begins at age 6/7 with the four primary operations of arithmetic. Fractions are introduced at age 9/10, decimal numbers and proportions at age 10/11, percentages and rates of interest at age 11/12, algebra at age 12/13. At the secondary level, topics include algebra, geometry, conics, trigonometry, probability, combinatorics and calculus. Descriptive geometry and projective geometry are introduced at age 15/16 and 16/17, respectively.
 Nature and science
Life sciences begin from age 6 or 7 with stories of "the living world." Observation and description of "the living world" begins at age 9 or 10. The curriculum includes lesson blocks on farming (age 9 or 10), animals (age 10 or 11), plants (age 11 or 12), as well as geology, human biology and astronomy (age 12 or 13). Children are taught that they are interdependently connected with nature and the environment around them, and that that as a result of that interdependence, how they treat nature and the environment is at least as important as how they treat themselves and each other.
At secondary school, Waldorf schools study the historical origins, cultural background, and philosophical roots and consequences of scientific discoveries. By the end of their secondary school education, students are expected to have a grasp of modern science equivalent to that achieved in other schools. 
 History and geography
History begins with "mythical and archetypal narrative" (age 6-9 years). At age 10 history lessons begin to draw upon the local environment in connection with local geography. Beginning at age 11, history is introduced as a formal subject.
 Foreign languages
Two "foreign" languages are taught from age six on. Foreign language instruction in the first two years is purely oral; reading and writing of foreign languages are generally introduced toward the end of third grade. Language teaching in the first three years aims to give the children a sense of a greater belonging and understanding of the other. This helps develop a relaxed relationship to things unknown, which is extremely important for all learning thereafter, especially for further foreign language training. 
 Art, crafts and handwork
In the elementary years, drawing is practised daily and painting weekly; in addition, children are taught modelling and sculpture with beeswax or clay. Also taught is an approach to drawing geometric and dynamic forms created by the early Waldorf pedagogue Hermann von Baravalle and known in the schools as "form drawing". Art instruction continues through the high school.
Handwork (including knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery) is taught from age 6 on, with projects which may include cushions, socks, gloves and dolls. Woodworking normally begins during 5th or 6th grade. The secondary school crafts curriculum includes some combination of woodworking, basketry, weaving and book-binding.
In the elementary school, children sing daily with their class teacher. Generally, weekly singing lessons with a specialized music teacher begin at an early age and continue as choral instruction through the end of a child's Waldorf experience. Music is sometimes also integrated into the teaching of subjects such as arithmetic, geography, history and science.
Recorders, usually pentatonic, are introduced in first grade, the familiar diatonic recorder in third or fourth grade, when the children also take up a string instrument: either violin, viola or cello. Waldorf pupils are generally required to take private music lessons when a class orchestra is formed, usually at age 10, although many already do. By age 11, the children may switch to or add to, learning other orchestral instruments such as the woodwind or brass to play in the school orchestra. Orchestral instruction continues through the end of a child's Waldorf experience, though in many schools it becomes elective at some point.
Eurythmy is a movement art, usually performed to poetry or music, created by Steiner and "meant to help children develop harmoniously with mind, body and soul". Eurythmy is a required subject in Waldorf Schools in all years.
Waldorf education (also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education) is a pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrates practical, artistic, and intellectual elements, and is coordinated with "natural rhythms of everyday life". The Waldorf approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. Studies of the education describe its overarching goal as providing young people the basis on which to develop into free, moral and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny (the existence of which anthroposophy posits). Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures.
- Main article: Curriculum of the Waldorf schools
There are widely-agreed guidelines for the Waldorf curriculum, supported by the schools' common principles; nevertheless, independent Waldorf schools are autonomous institutions not required to follow a prescribed curriculum. Government-funded Waldorf-method schools may be required to incorporate aspects of state curricula.
There are a few subjects largely unique to the Waldorf schools. Foremost among these is Eurythmy, a movement art usually accompanying spoken texts or music which includes elements of role play and dance and is designed to provide individuals and classes with a "sense of integration and harmony".
Waldorf schools generally introduce computers into the curriculum in the teenage years.
- U.S. Waldorf schools survey
A 1995 survey of U.S. Waldorf schools found that parents overall experienced the Waldorf schools as achieving their major aims for students, and described the education as one that "integrates the aesthetic, spiritual and interpersonal development of the child with rigorous intellectual development", preserving students' enthusiasm for learning so that they develop a better sense of self-confidence and self-direction. Some parents described upper grades teachers as overextended, without sufficient time to relate to parental needs and input, and wished for more open and reciprocal parent-school support. Both parents and students sometimes described colleges of teachers as being insular and unresponsive. The students overall were positive about the school and its differences; experienced the school as a "community of friends"; and spoke of the opportunity to grow and develop through the broad range of activities offered, to learn when they were ready to learn, to develop imagination, and to come to understand the world as well as oneself. Many students spoke of the kindness of their peers and of learning to think things through clearly for themselves, not to jump to conclusions, and to remain positive in the face of problems and independent of pressure from others to think as they do. Improvements the students suggested included more after-school sports programs, more physical education classes, more preparation for standardized testing, a class in world politics and computer classes. Faculty, parents and students were united in expressing a desire to improve the diversity of the student body, especially by increasing representation of minority groups such as African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.
- Standardized testing: USA and Germany
Despite their lessened exposure to standardized testing (especially in the elementary school years), U.S. Waldorf pupils' SAT scores have usually come above the national average, especially on verbal measures. Studies comparing students' performance on college-entrance examinations in Germany found that as a group, Waldorf graduates passed the exam at double to triple the rate of students graduating from the state education system, and that students who had attended Waldorf schools for their entire education passed at a much higher rate (40% vs. 26%) than those who only had part of their education at a Waldorf school. Educational successes of private Waldorf schools may partially reflect the social status of their students.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I'll drive the Xterra and Leigh Anna will come with us.
Guys double check the dates, if we can line up the people we want I am sure missing critque will not be a problem.
Thurs. Dec. 11: Leave Atlanta
Friday, Dec. 12: Interview in DC
Sat. Dec. 13: Drive to PA (130 miles)
Mon. Dec. 14: Interview in PA; Drive to NYC (110 miles)
Tues. Dec. 15: Interview in NYC
Wed. Dec. 16: Interview in NYC
Thurs. Dec. 17: Drive to RI (150 miles) Do interview; drive to Boston (about an hour drive)
Friday, Dec. 18: Interview in Boston
**this probably goes without saying but we need to line up the interviews on the date we will be in town. And the sooner the better.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I was taught by those same conformists, the mortgage protectors. People trapped by possessions were giving me the same hook. The curriculum was memorization-work, buy, work, buy, 2+2=4, work, the meaning of Robert Frost is that its boring and stupid to take the past less travelled, buy, the Pythagorean theory is for private schoolers with a future…reproduce.
I made straight "A"s because I was high. I dosed my first hit of Acid when I was 15 because I wanted to hallucinate, my friends threw a blanket over me and kicked my ass, we all thought it was funny. I smoked cigarettes because it was a sign of rebellion and began to fight and slam dance because it was the only thing that felt real. On the weekends, we used to hang out at Dragon Park next to Vanderbilt University where all the Skin Heads, Punks and Skaters used to congregate, drink, do drugs and set off explosives (one time someone threw a live grenade).
Most of my friends were the misfits, the skaters, punks, dopers, and the strange. Sure I had friends all over the gamut, cheerleaders, jocks, rednecks most of which turned out to be the crack heads and the single moms of my town. Funny the popular kids had the harder time once out of high school, I guess leaving a world that they ruled and going into one that could give a shit, leaves a hole to fill, maybe with drugs, maybe with sex, maybe with robbery, or maybe with denial.
My best friend Aaron developed a nasty Heroin Habit in Eleventh Grade and started talking about suicide. He would cut himself and finally got a gun from someone at Dragon Park. My friend Eric and I ratted him out to his mom, that night he was placed in rehab. Eric and I felt like hypocrites so we went "straight edge" pretty much through the rest of high school. No drugs, no alcohol, not even cigarettes. Without drugs I found it very hard to stay focused in school and my "A" average dropped to a "B".
I worked with convicts after school at McDonald's, a place where my manager sold drugs through the drive through window. My friend Eric and I worked there for about two years. Our better-ass classmates would come in and ask us why we worked there with disgust. I guess it was that no one ever painted a better picture or told me that the world was bigger than the suburban slavery I was surrounded by.
I realize now, even way back then I was mentally defeated. Growing up my father was the first to remind me of our families limitations. Both my parents worked 6AM to 6PM everyday except weekends. When i wanted to play sports I was told I couldn't because they didn't have time to take me to practice. When I was sixteen, I was instructed to get a job that I could walk to, so I could save up to by a car. Thus McDonald's. Then when it was time to graduate I was on my own.
My High School class was 407, I was number 72. We had fights about three times a week. Luckily no guns, just knives, chains and kids getting set on fire (but he deserved it). My tenth grade science teacher was arrested for dealing cocaine in class one day, it was a drag because his class policy was that as long as we didn't wake him up we'd all get "A"s. I remember being beat up at my locker by some rednecked camaro loving fuckers and the shop teacher just laughed.
…but I loved playing bombardment in gym class.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Same for Junior High. I’ll give credit to some good teachers along the way, but I self-motivated. To the point where I knew what I wanted to be in 7th or 8th grade.
Things changed a bit in high school. I still did well. I was still motivated, but I was exposed to a wider selection of classes. It was here I was exposed to AP writing, and the more artsy classes. It was here that I really learned I was still creative. I loved the daily creative outlet. And I thought I was ready for high school after all the advanced classes I took. This was not the case.
College was an entirely different ballgame. My high school success did not translate into good grades at the next level. Turned out, my work ethic from high school was terrible. I eased into it, but my first semesters murdered my GPA.
Since the student body at my college rivaled most small towns, I became more of a barcode than a human. My 101 classes often had class numbers pushing 700. And I did not do well. I hated the classes. The tests were obscure and ambiguous. I had to find a better way.
Eventually I stumbled across some writing classes: Creative Writing and Introduction to Advertising. Suddenly my college career blossomed. I started enjoying school. I had a 4.0 semester. I had direction… no thanks to my advisers or any teachers I ever had.
I really wanted to get in the creative track of the advertising program. But the previous semester’s failings basically denied me any chance of getting into the program. I didn’t understand how a creative program factored academics heavily. And there was no room to develop: if you didn’t demonstrate your skills in the application process, you didn’t have a chance.
And I didn’t.
So I studied communication theory (boring) and took as many creative writing classes as I could.
I graduated from a good school, but my degree was pretty much useless. I still needed more from my education.
I serendipitously found Portfolio Center. And, for the most part, the school filled my educational void. The school finds a seed of potential. Actually the entrance requirements aren’t strict at all. The program weeds out those who don’t belong.
I’ve finally hit my stride as far as education goes. I’ve worked my ass off, but I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up. It’s been a long and winding road, but a good journey anyways.
WHAT I LEARNED: Go straight to art school. Skip the college bullshit.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Andy Warhol: "They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
Albert Einstein: "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
Andre Gide: "Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."
My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; if you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Robert F. Kennedy: "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
From the Waldorf school website:
Waldorf schools around the world are committed to these intrinsic principles of education developed by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the guiding force behind the Waldorf School movement: that childhood is sacred; that children learn naturally and easily when a curriculum meets their specific developmental needs; that children’s imaginations must be carefully nurtured and protected from the encroachment of materialism and media; and that education must address the whole child—not only the intellect, but also the physical, social, emotional, artistic and spiritual capacities.
At The Waldorf School of Atlanta, children are encouraged to grow and mature in their own individual ways. Learning is a dynamic process that engages students with a rich sensory experience in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Students are engaged through active, curious, and creative participation in their own learning…
Anywho, I think students should be taught the core classes i.e math, science ect. for the first half of the year. Then use the skills and knowledge they've gained to solve "real" problems; the greatest teacher is experience. Students would learn only the basics for each subject, which gives them a solid foundation for exploration, speaking from personally experience all that shit can be learned in two months.
By only teaching students the basics we force them to create their own questions and hopefully solutions. It's not a 1+1=3 scenario ("Great Timmy"), but more like why doesn't 1+1=3. If that made any sense. We want to teach them how to think not what to think. Anybody can read a text book and regurgitate information.
So I say each year a students have half a year of classes and half a year of problem solving. This also allows students to figure out what they like, maybe little johnny hates math class but love physics and the math goes along with it.
Arts, Sciences, Literature, Math, Second Language, Some sort of physcial activity (I says Guts Style Gym class)
Students begin to explore fundamentals of Trigonometry, Algebra, and Calculus. Learning is by textbook at first, then integrate real-world applications for each.
Students learn English grammar, syntax, and composition by reading some of the best contemporary and classic authors. Through essays, poetry, articles, and stories, students will gain a strong grasp on communicating effectively through writing. Writing effectively will be stressed in every class—not just language classes.
From the first year at Newton, students have the option of learning German, French, Spanish, or Chinese. After students gain language conjugation fundamentals, classes will be taught primarily in the particular language. Fluency is the goal by year 4.
Newton students will learn about biology, chemistry, and physics. Through practical applications like experiments, field trips, and lecture series, students will gain a grasp on the actual application of science.
If students choose, they can specialize in specific physics, chemistry, or biology classes (i.e. human biology, organic chemistry basics)
Students will learn and explore their own creative outlets. Through writing, performance, painting, dance, or music. Basic and advanced courses are offered in all disciplines.
If a student chooses, arts may become the emphasis for years 3 and 4 of the program.
Computer stations are available for students use in any discipline/class at the school. And classes will be taught on advanced uses of programs/hardware.
Guys, of course, will have to take figure drawing classes. The figures will be hot college chicks.
Monday, November 3, 2008
That will give us time to layout the book and get it printed.
Since we are already relegated to teams. Here they are:
David-design of classroom and facility(?)
Adam-interviews, writing curriculum overview (with input from all)
John-photography: interviews and abstracts
Tim & Chris- Identity and proposal art direction and layout
I guess if we meet tomorrow, Tim and I can discuss layout and art direction.
John and Adam put together a game plan for interviews
Plus we need to discuss overall content for the book.
-Tim is there anyway you can post the layout as it exists?