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Errol St.Clair Smith

Errol St.Clair Smith

I'm the executive producer of BAM Radio Network, which means I get to eat, sleep and drink education talk radio. Over the last 10 years, I've been a fly on the wall in over 4,500 discussions between some of the most thoughtful, passionate and fascinating educators in the nation. On these pages I share the most important lessons I've learned from them, along with an occasional rogue insight of my own. BACKGROUND: I am a 25-year veteran of the media. Over those two-and-a-half decades, I had the opportunity to author four books; write for The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times; and spent three years as a popular radio talk show host on KIEV in Los Angeles. I worked for seven years as an "on air" political commentator and co-hosted the Emmy Award-winning program Life and Times on PBS television. I eventually moved on to become a business reporter at KTLA in Hollywood. Owing to some great mentors, some good timing and perhaps a shortage of available talent, I managed to pick up five Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award along the way. Oh by the way, I went to Harvard. Well … actually, I was invited to speak there once, but I really learned a lot from the experience. :)

Posted by on in UNward!

 Offended

 

 “If we can’t begin to have an honest discussion… without people taking it personally, that ‘s part of the problem…” 

 “There were some things that he talked about that were uncomfortable to me, but these are the uncomfortable conversations we need to start having now to start figuring out where we’re going…” 

“If you don’t want to have these conversations because you might be offended…”

I’m Offended

It's the title of the episode from which I pulled the statements above.

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Posted by on in Flipped Classroom

I didn’t always hate school. In fact, I used to love it. I still recall exactly when I fell in love with school, and precisely when I started disliking everything about it.  

The image is dim, but I can vaguely see the front of the classroom. I see the teacher, and I see me. We’re decorating the walls for the new school year. Yup! Just me, Miss Jones, lots of construction paper, Elmer’s glue and Scotch tape. The process was creative and fun. She made me feel like the project we were doing really mattered, and I felt connected and valued. I was somewhere around six years old and utterly convinced that school was cool.

Fast Forward…

Don’t know why my sisters and I moved to a new school, but I remember everything about the culture shock. We went from being one of 10 kids in a class to be one of around 30. I can’t remember any of my teachers’ names and wonder, in retrospect, if they ever knew mine. I do recall feeling invisible and disconnected. I went from sitting in the front of the room to hiding out in the back. Eventually, my body was showing up for class, but my mind would leave the building.

Fast Forward Again…

Both of my sisters are now educators.They have advanced degrees and a three-decades-long history of walking through school doors. They apparently loved school enough to go back again and again. Not me… I bolted for freedom at the earliest possible opportunity. I was going to be a pilot or an entrepreneur -- whichever one didn’t involve algebra.

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Posted by on in UNward!

BuckleUP

Wow! It wasn't a Dream. Betsy DeVos and US Secretary of Education are now synonyms.

When DeVos closed her first staff meeting at the Department of Education, she ended with a very Trumpian phrase - “Be bold, think big...”

Can you feel it?  The gale force winds of change have started to blow. It looks like we're all about to live through a blizzard of historic events. 

To um, "celebrate" we've geared up to document this unprecedented pivot for our grandchildren, future anthropologists, and life forms on other planets who are wondering what the hell is going on down here?

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Posted by on in UNward!

7predictionsE

Like most young people and cats, I’m hopelessly curious and easily enticed by things that look different, move oddly or smell like a strange new breed.

Under 10, we call this wonder! North of 50, the adults in the room often call this foolishness.

I confess that my inner fool is still alive, and pops up like a jack-in-the-box when triggered by some fascinating discovery or new development -- which brings us to the year ahead.

As we gaze at the dawn of 2017, the view from my window is about as different, odd and strange as I've seen in my lifetime. 

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Posted by on in General

NOtalone2

I just listened to a riveting post-election episode hosted by Rae Pica, with Jill Berkowicz Ed., Sean Thom, and Jason Flom.

I was struck by the inescapable predicament teachers around the country are facing. Elections have always been about winners and losers, but this time it's different - very different.

This time we’re not talking about the garden variety agony of seeing your team come up short.

The feelings swirling around our communities are not the classic dejection of seeing hopes for the future temporarily deferred.

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