The 10 Most Popular Posts on in 2015

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Chris Thinnes 


“Writing is easy,” Gene Fowler was purported to have said several decades ago. “All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper, until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”

I wouldn’t say that I “enjoy” writing something, so much as that I “enjoy” having written it. I can’t account for what makes a post either adequately appealing or sufficiently appalling to draw a lot of readers. Similarly, there’s no real relationship between whether I “like” a post I’ve written and whether anybody else seems to give a hoot about it. In the end, I don’t really write posts to appeal to readers, so much as to clarify – or, sometimes, to discover or to confess — my own thinking about a subject. 

That said, I appreciate everyone who’s taken time to consider material on this site — and very grateful to folks who’ve provided their critical and constructive feedback to help make my thinking, my work, and my priorities clearer still.

So here, with those ambiguous provisos, are the ten most widely read posts on this blog this year –listed in reverse order, from #10 to #1:


“Always Starting with the Children”
April 2013
This post was inspired by Carla Rinaldi’s reflections on Maria Montessori, who implored us to approach our work in schools “always starting from the children, with the ability to welcome them as they are, freed from the thousand different labels with which we now presume to identify them.” [More…]


A White Man Swinging an Axe
December 2015
Watching video footage of the police killing Laquan McDonald and Mario Woods made me think about another encounter with the police that I witnessed in person. [More…]


Center for 22nd Century Education to Transform Education as We Knew It
April 2015
Recognizing that we were several years into the 21st century before we started talking about “21st century skills,” I thought I’d help us get a head start on the 22nd century. [More…]


“If These Two Movements Found Common Cause” (Initial Reflections on #NPEChicago #NPE2015)
April 2015
Inspired by the Network for Public Education’s conference in Chicago – and, in particular, by Jesse Hagopian’s sessions with Rita Greene – I invited folks to “problematize the racialized politics of ‘our’ resistance as fiercely and intentionally as we challenge the racist ideologies of ‘their’ reforms.” [More…]


“The Root, Stem, Leaves, & Fruit of American Education” (Part 3)
May 2013
Peter Gow wrote beautifully that “We want to see democracy, not capitalism, survive as the root, stem, leaves, and fruit of American education.” In this third installment of a series, I looked at how neoliberal discourse has influenced even our most private thinking about the purpose of schools. [More…]


An Open Letter to the NAIS Board re: John Chubb’s Appointment
January 2013
Almost three years later, it still gets readers and I still get questions. Some answers:
a. Yes, I still think the questions needed to be asked.
b. No, I didn’t enjoy the frustration I caused (or, for that matter, the repercussions I endured) because I asked them.
c. I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Dr. Chubb in a variety of sessions since. He taught me a lot about how and why to bridge differences.
d. Dr. Chubb deserves enormous credit for his leadership at NAIS, parts of which I tried to articulate in this reflection I wrote with Dr. Eddie Moore.   [More…]


What if K-12 Education Were More Like Preschool?
October 2014
Deb Meier said it best when she asked, “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?” [More…]


What Always Seems Missing in ‘21st Century Learning’ Frameworks
June 2015
I’ve been captivated by the evolving discourse on deeper learning and social justice in our schools for a while now. More recently I’ve become preoccupied with the rampant misconception that the two are somehow unrelated to each other. [More…]


13 Years of Dress Rehearsal?
August 2015
This most extraordinary back to school night speech, inviting us all to reexamine our assumptions about children’s experience of school, was written by Rachel Thinnes – light of my life, mother of our son, and Dean of Students and Dean of Faculty at Louisville High School. [More…]


Progressive Education Has a Race Problem (Part 1)
October 2015
Following the Progressive Education Network’s Brooklyn conference on “Access, Equity, and Activism,” I began this series as an effort to explore the intersections of race and progressive pedagogy, with the promise to continue this project in the months to come. [More…]

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You can follow Chris Thinnes on Twitter at @ChrisThinnes