And we don’t want a society with standardized minds

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Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Standardized tests are only useful for measuring standardized minds. However, humans are not standardized, nor do we want them to be. If you think about it, pressuring students to do well on standardized tests is a strange way to measure success. Why would we want everyone to learn the same content or take the same path? One thing that makes the world a rich and beautiful place is that we all have different strengths and ideas to bring to the table. It is misguided to create an educational system where each student is only supposed to learn prescribed content.

Sometimes the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds- Diane…

Why do adults fear it?

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Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

“We need to rebuild our schools from the ground up with the democratic classroom in mind. This would increase the positive outcomes of education for everyone and create the world leaders that we need to solve global problems such as climate change” — High School student

I’ve been researching and teaching about student-centered education and intervention programs for over a decade. The research is clear ­– kids are more engaged in school when their education is personally meaningful and culturally relevant. Sure, some students do fine in a traditional school setting if the definition of success is high-scores on standardized tests and their ability to get into college. …


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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

His hands drop playfully
to stroke the head

The emotional flare
bursting to ignition

Each strike precise

The sticks penetrate the air
as mystically
as a Hummingbirds wings

Grace and beauty never falters
the quickness of the flutter never loses purpose

The Hummingbird is the spirit messenger
The Drum sings its song

©Robin Harwick

Written in 1993, after watching a live set with Charles Gocher (1952–2007). RIP my dear friend.

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

No matter how hard you try
The truth you cannot hide

It’s all been done before
Your pain brings forth more


The tears no longer reign

The deception continues;
and so will the pain

Until the day,
You realize what you can change

©Robin Harwick

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Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash

The wind sings to me now
Its howl no longer scares
…it serenades

Peace has come
I rejoice at being alive

©Robin Harwick, Ph.D.

Poetry Sunday

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Photo by Ruan Carlos on Unsplash

The last morning I saw you, I found the strength to set a firm boundary. I knew the time had come for me to stop accepting your lies and lack of accountability.

Remember your post that day? You said we were both broken, and that I didn’t know I was. I became furious. Again, you attempted to knock me out of my groove right before work. You timed your attacks, to rock me when I needed to be grounded. Your constant betrayal ripped through my heart like a wood chipper. However, it did not break me.

Is that what made you angry?
Were you exasperated that you could not break me? …

Fiction Friday

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Photo by Parker Coffman on Unsplash

“What do you mean? I’m a distraction?” I seductively said as I peered into his large russet-colored eyes. John had long, shaggy black hair and a broad smile. As usual, he was wearing Levis and a faded Rush t-shirt. I had on my favorite frayed cutoffs, a black and white striped skin-tight crop top, and black converse. My hair shined like a raven and battled against the thick summer air. I teased it up as high as I could get it — the bigger the hair, the closer to god — was our motto. …

It’s time for educational alternatives

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Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic and schools being closed have made many parents acknowledge that the mainstream educational system wasn’t serving their kids appropriately. I keep hearing from parents that although their kids miss their friends, they are less stressed and don’t want to go back to school in the fall. Some kids are diving into learning and creative projects in a way that parents didn’t expect. Others are frustrated by trying to replicate traditional school at home. Many parents are asking what alternatives are there?

Some students, parents, and teachers are realizing alternative educational options are critical for students who do not fit into the mold of traditional schools. More frequently than you may suspect, brilliant students fare poorly in conventional schools because schools reward conformity and convergent rather than divergent thinking. Talented youth are often nonconformists and independent thinkers. The expectation for them to conform may actually lead to underachievement and/or “behavioral challenges” (as defined by adults in the school system). Within the educational system, there is also the myth that high ability youth will do well regardless of what is happening around them. …

An Education that fosters community and embraces inclusion

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Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

“What is the “cost” of a symphony unwritten, a cure not discovered, a breakthrough not invented? In today’s complex world, and in preparing for tomorrow’s certainly more complex one, we can scarcely afford to waste “talent capital” of any sort.” (McCluskey & Treffinger, 1998)

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, too many youths were oppressed and not served well within our educational system. There is a constant push in our society for assimilation into the dominant culture. The current educational system doesn’t offer a place for kids that do not fit into that culture, especially those that are repressed because of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender identity, learning styles, or because they choose not to conform. …

Fiction Friday

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Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Sven and I started kissing unexpectedly. His beard smelled salty and greasy from the tater tots we’d been sharing. The whole thing was tacky, and unlike me, I craved him suddenly. Weird. He was my best friend, not my lover. We decided to be somewhat respectable, stop making out, and get out of the bar. We started walking towards our cars, and he pulled me into an alley, or maybe I pulled him? Like usual, it was drizzling.

He backed me into the brick wall, next to a dumpster. The light from the streetlamp diffused through the mist. I closed my eyes and felt soft rain caress my face as he pressed against me. I melted into him and felt a rush of hormones pulsing through my body. His hands moved along my t-shirt, and I grasped the lapel of his blue wool pea coat, pulling him in tighter. He slowly unbuckled my black leather belt, released the button of my jeans. My body tingled with desire. The rain became a downpour, though it didn’t inhibit us—rather, it sped us up, drew us further into each other. Eventually I came with such intensity that I gasped for air. He held me gently. Then I started laughing. …


Robin Harwick, Ph.D.

Author, Educator, Researcher, Survivor, and Youth & Family Advocate.

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