To quote the great 20th Century philosopher, Rodney Dangerfield, sometimes “it’s not easy being me.” I find it exhausting being the contrarian at many events because it prevents me from presenting the complete range of what I have to offer. My late friend, Stephen Marcus, once called me “The master of negative space.” I was honored since he was a man of great intellect, wit and integrity who recognized my ability to see what’s missing in a situation.
What we do matters. I’m not a linoleum salesman. I work to make the world a better place for children. If I have to be the bad guy who busts through the meaningless clichés and happy-talk, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
I would do anything for Chris Lehmann, so I was happy to be on his Educon 2.1 panel, “What Does School Reform Look Like?” even if there was an expectation that my head might explode. I decided to offer a positive view of what school reform could look like despite my Twitter pal, Andy Carvin’s, asking me to weigh-in on the politics of public education. (I’ll post my view of school reform in the near future)
Despite all of this, many people thought I made an important contribution to the discussion.
David Warlick wrote the following on his blog, Should it Matter?:
However, there were two elements of the panel’s conversation that — quicken my heart. One was Gary Stager’s opening and the list of what he believes — and just about everything else he said. I was especially taken with his demand that reform needs to happen locally. I didn’t realize the importance of this statement until a conversation that I had with Steve Hargadon at the end of the day. Stager questions a lot of what I say and write, and I learn from his challenges, but he sees the evils of what has happened to education during the past several years, and he hammers it ruthlessly — and I thank him.
Thank you for your kind words, David!
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.