The Iron Curtain

Nearly sixty years ago on October 4th 1957, the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite into space. If America wasn’t afraid of the Soviet Union before, it was now.

The U.S. responded audaciously by setting out to:

  1. Put a man on the moon.
  2. Make American education the best in the world.

Twelve years later the space race was over. America won.

Sixty years on, education in America remains a quagmire. The broken record of reform plays on, and on, and on, and on, and on, learning little in the process. …


Two ten year olds stood at a whiteboard in room 118 with a group of parents seated in a semi-circle around them. There were other small clusters like this in 118, next door, and in a classroom down the hall. 4th grade was celebrating some math.

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“I have 10 tickets. Half are lost. How many tickets do I have left?” asked one of the 4th graders.

“Think about it for a moment on your own, then turn and talk to a neighbor about your reasoning” said her partner to the 8 adults.

“Okay, let’s hear your strategies” — said the…

Mark Pettyjohn

Teacher. Always learning.

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