Education Opinion

Independent School Voices: A Blog Sampler (Part I)

By Peter Gow — March 25, 2013 4 min read
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Feedback I receive sometimes makes me concerned that too many people believe that public is public, independent is independent, and ne’er the twain shall meet. “We don’t speak the same language; our concerns aren’t the same.”

In the service of identifying some common perspectives, I’d like to offer up a small sampler of independent school bloggers--teachers, administrators, thought leaders--whose regular writing has more than occasional relevance to education as a whole (cleverly arranged by bloggers’ first names). Take a gander, and listen closely for messages that ring true across the sector divide.

Space limitations prevent me from doing justice to all my blogging colleagues, so I’ll just throw out a blanket apology to the many who may rightfully feel neglected here. I may need to do this again soon.

Arvind Grover at 21 Apples
Largely a curated blog, Arvind’s 21 Apples provides an endless menu of thought-provoking, sometimes astonishing resources that come from far beyond the groves of academe but are always pungent and relevant to what schools and educators are, and ought to be, thinking about. A frequent subtext is Arvind’s passion for social justice.

Chris Bigenho at Life in the Renaissance
Chris is a national figure in the independent school community for his leadership in several of the more forward thinking initiatives of the National Association of Independent Schools, and he believes strongly in the power of technology as a force to bring people together and to renew and transform school culture and professional learning. Chris has also maintained “digital communities” in support of recent NAIS annual conferences: 2010 themes; 2011; 2012; and 2013.

Chris Thinnes at chris.thinnes.me
Chris wears his huge heart on his sleeve through the power of his blog. Courageous in calling the question on major issues and sensitive in understanding and celebrating the glorious power of the whole enterprise that brings teachers, kids, and schools together, Chris’s prescient insights turn up in critical conversations wherever forward-thinking independent school educators come together.

Grant Lichtman at The Learning Pond
An original thinker and writer, Grant Lichtman’s latest project was a cross-country journey involving over sixty schools--independent, public, charter--that have embraced new and innovative ways of doing their work. Fascinated by the range of innovation he discovered and chronicled here, Grant has clearly had his deep interest in education as an expression of culture refueled.

Jonathan Martin at 21K12
Now a consultant but a former teacher and school head, Jonathan has a knack for being in the moment with whatever new and important ideas are filtering their way--or should be filtering their way--into schools. A passionate devotee of data (and not just test scores), Jonathan is a significant thought leader who is generous in pointing out promising paths to the future.

Josie Holford at The Compass Point
The head of progressive Poughkeepsie Day School in New York, Josie offers wise and humane reflection on events and trends in education at large as well as at her own school. There’s a generosity of spirit to Josie’s posts, blended with a certain urgency that we all remember why it is that we entered this work.

Miscellaneous bloggers keep the Connecticut Association of Independent School Commission on Professional Development Blog
Events, reflections, the occasional reblog to keep leaders and teachers of independent schools in Connecticut abreast of new trends and professional development opportunities.

Pat Bassett at Bassett’s Blog
Pat Bassett steps down this year after a thirteen-year tenure as president of the National Association of Independent Schools, and so his blog may be short-lived in this forum. But no one in the history of independent schools--going back to a few Harvard presidents who chivvied us along in fruitful directions--has been as thoughtful and as outspoken as to how independent schools need to think of themselves and where we need to go. The Bassett Blog is also hotlinked to the many provocative presentations that Pat has made to wake independent schools up from any lingering complacency about the future of education and the welfare of children.

Although I’ve slowed my posting pace to a near standstill while I devote myself to Independent Schools, Common Perspectives, I’ve tried over the past few years to make sense of the changes we are experiencing in the context of what I like to think are enduring values (and enduring sometimes quandaries) from the past at my own Not Your Father’s School.

Be sure to check out these blogs’ blogrolls for more resources--and to run across plenty of familiar names and voices from the public sector. We are listening, hard.

More to come next week!

Engage with Peter on Twitter: @pgow

The opinions expressed in Independent Schools, Common Perspectives are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.