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Showing posts from March, 2018

On Strike

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The public supports us.

Being on strike makes me proud. To see and hear the support of the public every morning on the picket line, I am further convinced L.A. teachers made the right choice to leave the classroom. It is not an easy choice for many single income teachers, but it is one of the reasons we are striking. Teachers should not have to live paycheck to paycheck when educating society's children.



But our strike is about more than that, and it seems the public is aware of what we have been concerned about for years. In the middle of one morning's picket session I realized that the education reformers had been so very wrong in what they were telling us. The public knows and understands that we know what's best for children in schools. They place their precious children in our hands to educate, and want us to do our job unencumbered by district edicts and structures that get in the way.

The public supports us.


Being on strike is not what I thought it would be. It is be…

The promise of Fulbright

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The morning after the conclusion of the Fulbright Forum in Helsinki, three Fulbrighters boarded a plane to Berlin to continue our learning. What greeted us were no less than 550 Fulbrighters based in Germany!
Now to recap, Fulbrights are merit-based grants managed by the U.S. State Department, whose funds often come from our taxes. However, budget cuts have recently become a recurring issue and many countries have binational commissions that also supplement or fully pay for the cost of Fulbrighters to come to their country.


Fulbrighters are scholars, students, teachers, scientists, artists, and mid-career professionals that want to embark on a cross-cultural exchange that will lead to increased cooperation and mutual understanding between nations. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it has been happening for over 70 years.
I still can’t believe I am a part of this inspiring group of people.


The Berlin Seminar was different than the one in Helsinki, each with its own flavor. The Germ…

For the Love of Learning

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Being wrapped up in the cozy cocoon of Finnish schools (wearing socks instead of shoes, eating a daily hot lunch, and hearing the happy buzz of children), it is easy to forget that Fulbright is more than just teachers working on inquiry projects.

These last two weeks swiftly reminded me that Senator Fulbright left the world an incredible legacy, and that almost half a million people have participated in cross-cultural exchanges since the program’s inception. Fulbright Finland’s Spring Forum The Fulbright grantees in Finland are located in a number of cities. For the first time, students, teachers, and scholars from the U.S. gathered for three days of learning from each other.

For those of us fortunate to attend the separate workshop “Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats,” we enjoyed the added bonus of hearing an impressive panel of speakers from the U.S. and Finland.
Speaker after speaker addressed the issues causing the rise of misinformation, political polarity, and probl…

"There Are No Emergencies"

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February marked a number of school visits ranging from elementary (primary) to middle school (lower secondary) and high school (upper secondary.) As the Fulbrighters get their feet wet, mastering public transportation, integrating in schools, and networking in the education world, the question that keeps arising in lunch rooms and private conversations is why do we have so much violence in schools?
I was trying to explain my school environment both to the History department at the University of Jyvaskyla Teacher Training School (the Finnish version of a lab school) and to seniors at Schildt school, both mature audiences who can handle a nuanced discussion. It never occurred to me just how much I’ve internalized and to an extent, normalized the violence in our society.
How does one explain the dramatic rise in poverty we have experienced over the last few years, and the vast wealth inequality that has existed for much longer? How do I explain that our society values the protection of …