Category: Education

Daughters of Destiny

The Shanti Bhavan boarding school, in Tamil Nadu, India, founded by a rich man who realized giving away most of his money to the “lowest” members of his society would make him infinitely richer, caters to children of the Dalits, the so-called “untouchables,” India’s bottom caste. The goal is to educate them so they can take care...

The Experience That Changed Your Life

Do you have an experience that, in retrospect, seems to have set you on your life’s journey? A formative moment? An epiphany? Mine came when I was 16, more than 35 years ago. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I attended (and completed) a 24-day Colorado Outward Bound course in the Rocky...

Earl Flowers Can Read

Earl Flowers can read. He can read this sentence. He can read every word on this page. If he doesn’t immediately recognize one of the words, he can sound it out phonetically – or, if it’s completely unfamiliar, he knows how to use a dictionary to teach himself. When Earl reads out loud – when...

Kevlar for Kids

When news of the latest school shooting reached us, our first impulse, of course, was to offer “thoughts and prayers,” and to make sure via social media everyone understood that we were offering thoughts and prayers. Our second impulse — and this seems to happen every time there’s another mass murder involving an angry white...

Poem: First Day of School

  Bedroom window open to the night breezes, and the morning call to prayers, when the children arrive wearing newly purchased clothes memorialized by high-volume mothers with fancy phones. On the first day of school hidden hopes soar to their improbable zenith, touching the underside of the fine line between delusion and ambition. Anything is...

Poem: A Good Education

At the Middle School two driveways down the street, Hollywood safari vans tote tipsy tourists and King of Pop-culture purists to contemplate like jurists the Michael Jackson Auditorium, whose much-lauded eponym was sleek and slim, and boyishly indiscreet. At this school, Russian parents take parking spots and umbrage, when their children start to bleat about the...

Kumare

Vikram Gandhi is a handsome and charismatic filmmaker; Kumare is an Indian guru who espouses a nice-sounding mélange of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and chanting — all standard stuff for seekers of Wisdom.  Gandhi’s documentary shows how Kumare, with the help of two fetching female assistants, builds a fabulous reputation and a community of followers. The...

Perverse Priorities

Sometimes our chaotic, unknowable, seemingly random Universe arranges itself with perfect symmetry. In these moments of bracing clarity, authored by a Creator (in whatever guise or nomenclature you prefer) whose sense of irony is matched only by her/his/its sense of wicked humor, our innate foolishness and learned stubbornness are robbed of their pretensions. We see...

Educating Everyone Excellently

My dear mother is a knee-jerk liberal hippie Democrat progressive pro-labor vegetarian yoga-doing leftie. For most of her adult life she’s served as one of the most beloved and revered elementary school educators in her community. She’s taught across the spectrum of scenarios: inner-city public school with “at risk” students; suburban public school with “smart...

How Propaganda Transforms Young Minds

If we can put aside millennial-old inquiries into the nature of Truth, assuming such a thing exists, we can agree that propaganda, which is less concerned with veracity than with delivering a particular message, is a kind of prevarication. A lie. A tendentious assertion that’s antithetical to our notion of Truth. I was reminded of...