What if K-12 Education Were More Like Preschool?

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Chris Thinnes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, after all, if high school
students were as deeply absorbed in their ‘work’
as five-year-olds are in their play?
– Deborah Meier

The other day, a colleague and I preparing for a conference workshop gave ourselves some time to ask ourselves a number of the 30,000-foot questions we rarely take the time to ask. I found myself fascinated by how rarely in our national dialogue about K-12 school reform … READ MORE

Educational-Relational Thinking & the Future of Public-Private Partnerships

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I am grateful to Michael Brosnan for his invitation to contribute to the Fall 2014 issue of Independent School magazine. The following is a repost of my article as it recently appeared in print, with fantastic illustrations by Kelly Schykulski. You can find a print-friendly .pdf version here.

Citation: Thinnes, C. (2014). Educational-relational thinking and the future of public-private partnerships. Independent School, 74 (1), pp. 96-102.


Educational-Relational Thinking

and the Future


Living in Dialogue | Reimagining Education 'Accountability': Asking the Right Questions

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 Chris Thinnes

Living in Dialogue | Hosted by Anthony Cody
Reimagining Education ‘Accountability’:
Asking the Right Questions


Anthony Cody asserted in a recent essay that “for far too long educators have accepted the flagellations of one accountability system after another, and time has come to say ‘enough’,” and framed much of the prevailing debate about high-stakes testing and accountability policy as “a monumental distraction” and “a shell game.” The urgency of his driving question — … READ MORE

After #Ferguson: Sample Questions for Reflection & Discussion in Our Schools (via #PubPriBridge)

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NOTE: Some folks may be familiar with #PubPriBridge, a twitter chat on alternating Mondays (5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET) that helps to build bridges across difference between educators in both public and independent/private schools. Further information and resources about #PubPriBridge are available at PubPriBridge.net, including archives of past chats.


Earlier this week, #PubPriBridge set aside a planned discussion on school change in order to create space for urgent conversation about social justice and … READ MORE

White Patience, Privilege, and Michael Brown's Murder: A Process Post

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Chris Thinnes


On one channel a pundit argues that the safety risk of revealing the officer’s name outweighs the public’s claims to transparency; on another, a local politician urges calm, and an open mind, as the investigations continue. One commentator explains that such investigations are more complex than we might think, and that the public ought not jump to conclusions; a reporter indicates that unconfirmed reports suggest the officer may have been injured in … READ MORE

Revolutionary Love: Antonia Darder's 'Reinventing Paulo Freire'

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Chris Thinnes


It has been a while since I posted on this blog — most recently because of my commitments to the Redlands Summer Institute for Social Justice and NAIS’s “Call to Action”, but primarily since I’ve waded neck-deep into learning with new colleagues in LMU’s EdD Cohort 11. This made me think it would be a shame to disconnect my learning and sharing in this space from my inquiry and research iREAD MORE

"Plant the Seeds that One Day Will Grow" (Farewell Comments to Colleagues)

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Chris Thinnes


date diagram

(from http://ow.ly/yyQ29)

Recently I shared the announcement that this fifteenth year at my school was my last, and my discovery of what was probably already obvious to you:

It’s the web of personal and professional relationships I’ve developed with these close colleagues in recent years — much more so than the ‘learning’ and the ‘teaching’ and the ‘leadership’ one might be tempted artificially to disaggregate from the relationships that make them possible READ MORE

The Crosswalks of Cultural Competency & The Common Core (Conference Workshop Proposal)

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Chris Thinnes


When Alison Park, Rosetta Lee, and I realized that the theme for this year’s “Summer Institute on Leadership for Educational Justice” at the University of Redlands would be Common Core: Academic Contexts, Complex Texts, Close Reading, Assessment, and More, we realized this could be an excellent opportunity both to press an urgent case for the centrality of cultural competency in students’ literacy learning, and to dive more deeply into … READ MORE

Smile and Wave: The Next Chapter of My Learning & Leadership

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Chris Thinnes


Curtis School - Announcement - Thinnes 750In today’s surreal experiment in inclusive leadership, I tried to facilitate a meeting with teachers I’ve been supervising for several years, in order to collect and share their input with the search committee that will appoint my successor. This past Friday, you see, the teachers and the rest of our school’s community received a notice that this fifteenth year at the school will be my last. The notice explained I will be … READ MORE

'I Respectfully Dissent:' Reflections on This Week in Race & Education

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Chris Thinnes

The Court ends the debate over race-sensitive
admissions policies in Michigan in a manner
that contravenes constitutional protections
long recognized in our precedents.

– Sonia Sotomayor

The problem now is, how are you going
to save yourselves?

– James Baldwin


When Proposition 209 reared its ugly head in California almost twenty years ago, threatening to end the consideration of race and ethnicity as a factor in California university admissions, I was pursuing … READ MORE