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Showing posts from March, 2018

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

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As I wind up my 24th year of teaching in Los Angeles classrooms , I pause to think of my past lives in different schools and neighborhoods. While presenting to students in Finland I always included a slide of past eras of my life such as growing up in the Eastside, college and adulthood in the Westside, teaching on the Southside, and married life in the Valley. Apart from being a native Angeleno, significant years of my life have been spent living in many parts of town, and teaching in many communities. I love all of them.

Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that what students all over L.A. need more than anything is an ally on the school board. My South Central students need a warrior who recognizes that our teachers’ strike was more than just a salary dispute, but a movement to reclaim our rightful place as agents of change in the profession we love. One that will help us do our jobs serving students. My West Valley students need a fighter who will challenge our legislators to …

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 …