This page gathers ideas from other folks that inspire what I do and have animated my own thinking.
To kick things off:
You have to be loyal to a dream country rather than to the one to which you wake up every morning. –Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country
For me, this quote frames progressive democracy. Science, education, and innovation are all about tinkering now to create something better. Blind allegiance to the way things are is antithetical to this. The fact that I wake up and am never satisfied with the current state of our democracy is not a burden. Always working to get more power into the hands of more people is what democracy is.
Paul Tough: What It Takes to Make a Student
This is probably the single most important piece of journalism that got me thinking seriously about education. It’s a tour of KIPP school mechanics meshed with social science research on the correlation between early positive language exposure for children and later academic success. And Tough is a meticulous reporter and master storyteller.
Scott Page: Diversity Should Power Science
This is a brief application of Page’s larger work on diversity within many kinds of teams. His research demonstrates that collaboration among a diverse set of problem solvers yields more potential approaches to tackling complex problems than collaboration among homogenous groups. Teach For America is remarkable for many strengths, but this kind of diverse team building is baked into its DNA. This means (but is not limited to) ethnic, religious, gender, and socioeconomic diversity.
James Gleick: The Information
A bench scientist or an engineer will tell you the same thing: the distinction between “science” and “technology” is important. Science is more about the undirected search for answers to questions about how the natural world works. Technology is more about the directed application of tools, methods, or even scientific processes to expand human capabilities. The two inevitably overlap, but if science is about figuring out how things work, then technology is simply making them work. But in James Gleick’s latest book, he masterfully describes the historical and theoretical foundations of the field that knits science and technology together, or perhaps encompasses them both: information theory.