Monthly Archives: August 2015

Start where you are, with what you have…


This is perhaps the most important document to come out of the Department of Basic Education in a long time; Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030. Although we are regularly faced with much depressing information on the state of education in South Africa, reports like this give me hope that there are some excellent people working in the department, thinking strategically and working within the existing constraints. It is not delusional, the goals are (mostly) realistic, and it charts a clear path to get to where we want to go from where we are.

Education people far and wide – read this, quote it, refer to it and hold the Department to these plans!

Reading to some purpose

baloon rock

  • Important This American Life podcast on accidental school desegregation in Missouri in 2013 (via Doron Isaacs). Such a relevant conversation for South Africa where the distinction between functional and dysfunctional schools is so stark. We really need to be doing more research on understanding the formal (and informal) ways that fee-charging schools manage to exclude students that cannot pay. While I am sympathetic to passionate principals who are concerned about funds needed to run the school, I am even more sympathetic to parents of poor children who want a good education for their children but simply have no options.
  • The School of Life asks “What’s Education For?” and provides quite a compelling answer which highlights the current deficiencies in our education system (globally).
  • Inside The Secret World of Russia’s Cold War Mapmakers – very cool WIRED article.
  • 2014 USAID “Mobiles For Reading:A Landscape Research Review” via Garth Spencer Smith
  • In 1989 Susan Sontag gave a guest lecture at Michigan State University about ‘illness as metaphor’ where she discusses cancer and AIDS with insight and eloquence. Worth listening to.
  • Brilliant Comedy Central skit showing what it would be like if we treated our best teachers like our best football players
  • Informative New Yorker article on Jeb Bush’s influence on education – specifically testing and the proliferation of charter schools (including for-profit charter schools) during his time as Governor of Florida. Remember that he is probably going to be the Republican presidential candidate for the upcoming U.S. elections.