From the Director

April 19, 2017

The long mandate of high stakes, standardized testing has weakened public education.  This has set the stage for a high stakes drama:  dismantling a cornerstone of American democracy.


Reforms like No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, even the Eve...

April 4, 2017

Should tax-paying, child-rearing parents have the power to make education policy?

Who does make public education policies?  Who established No Child Left Behind?  Or Race to the Top, Common Core, ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)?  Politicians, of course.  But also infl...

March 30, 2017

Why can’t school reformers get it right?

The record.  In 1983 “A Nation at Risk” warned of global competition.  But our economy boomed in the 1990’s while our competitor Japan suffered a “lost decade.”  

“No Child Left Behind” got left behind before its term ex...

March 29, 2017

Why can’t school reformers get it right?  Why do we Americans keep demanding reform year after year, decade after decade, without getting some resolution?

Is reform really that complex?

The short answer is yes.  We are a diverse, even divided, nation.  We want different...

December 23, 2016

From: Maverick

To: Mainstream


It was the longest standing ovation I’ve ever been part of… and it was for a teacher.

125 students.  End of the last class, end of semester.  My first course in college, 8:00am Mondays.  Some 30 lectures, each 50 minutes long.  A profe...

December 18, 2016

From: Maverick

To: Mainstream


Baby Boomers:  What TV show, 1957-62, regularly beat the “Ed Sullivan Show” ratings?

Answer:  “Maverick.”  My brother Jim and I always watched.  James Garner got his Hollywood break as Bret Maverick.  Jack Kelley played his brother Bar...

December 10, 2016

From: Maverick

To: Mainstream


 “First, do no harm.”

The Hippocratic Oath has worked for medicine and doctors for over 2000 years.

A draft version of it for education (exists and) could work for teachers.  And for administrators and school committees.  Policy makers...

November 30, 2016

From: Maverick

To: Mainstream


The end of education is not what “they” say it is.

Our film editor Gary is a 26-year-old wizard of a techie.  If it’s on a computer, he can do anything.  If he doesn’t know something now, he’ll learn it in minutes.  His teamwork skill...

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The writer and director of Passion to Teach, Bart Nourse (1953-2019), lived a life of purpose – as an inspiring and life-changing teacher to countless young people, as an organizer and advocate for community education, as a life-long student of the history of educational change and the role of schools in society, and, in his final years, as a powerful voice for the idea of preserving and strengthening America’s public schools from the inside out, by elevating the teaching profession.  


Bart Nourse recognized that meaningful change in education had to come from the experts “who know what works with children and what brings them to life: teachers.” He knew that teachers needed to be well-prepared, supported, and then given the freedom and responsibility to practice their craft for the greater good of learners. Bart envisioned a way to move beyond endless cycles of failed top-down reform, working from the inside out, beginning with the leadership and expertise of teachers. 

Here, you will find a collection of his writings, as well as a TEDx Talk, Your Best Teacher, he gave in 2017. 

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