sam chaltain

sam chaltain.png

Sam Chaltain is a national educator and organizational change consultant. Previously, he was the National Director of the Forum for Education and Democracy, a DC-based education think tank.

find/follow more here..

link twitter

link facebook

sam chaltain site

180 studio

His recent work is in showcasing/sharing the story of Mission Hill and the gathering at CU Boulder in August 2013.

More reference to Mission Hill here – via city as school.

and yes.. this is Sam, representing laziness in a be you book.


never nothing


via Sam’s – what happened in 2008 mattering to 2013

“When test results are falsified and students who have not mastered the necessary material are promoted, our students are harmed, parents lose sight of their child’s true progress, and taxpayers are cheated.”

even students who have not mastered, but rather managed to display during a test, Denise Pope’s research is saying that’s 95% of kids. kids who see it as survival.

perhaps – it’s not so much about a wrongdoing.. we could all point some sort of finger – esp to ourselves.. but about a solution, a humane disruption of our societal current-ness. no?


august 2013

changing the types of questions we get asked on planes:

why – ness

stories of learning – mining personal attributes that affected us – fav learning moments

attributes of a learning community


sam chaltains question

42 min in – Leslie’s story…

we all have stories like this – if we just listen….

suggested book – thinking fast and slow


Sam on educon:

Learning Matters: Follow the Leader: EduCon


10/9/15 6:54 AM
Are We Finally Ending the Battle of the Edu-Tribes?… This one is generating a lot of response, most of it negative.
A belief that learning doesn’t just happen in school – it happens anywhere and everywhere – and therefore schools must become places that can recognize and accredit student work whenever and wherever it occurs.
why the need to accredit/recognize.?
A belief that all student learning, to the greatest extent possible, should be designed in a way so that it can legitimately offer a “slice of the solution”, and contribute to our ongoing collective effort to solve actual, intractable social problems.
rev of everyday life.. would do that in spaces of permission. with nothing to prove.. let’s leapfrog to that.. first.
reminds of Carl‘s recent talk.. panel said.. we need to question politics of what gets funded.. what questions/research/et al..
ie: perhaps not better credential/credit/proving ing
alternate, ie: self-talk as data in the open

No better way to launch Year 3 of our evolving WONDER Expedition than to have our dear friend,…


jan 2016 – Sam diving into wonder..

“Wonder – is not precisely Knowing And not precisely Knowing not – A beautiful but bleak condition He has not lived who has not felt.”

“Man is surprised to find that things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote.”

And my personal favorite – “It is not understanding that destroys wonder; it is familiarity.”


feb 2016

it is not the world that makes us wonder; it is our wondering that makes the world.


“We are learning,” Rifkin writes, “against all of the prevailing wisdom, that human nature is not to seek autonomy – to become an island to oneself – but, rather, to seek companionship, affection, and intimacy. We have been sending out radio communications to the far reaches of the cosmos in the hope of finding some form of intelligent and caring life, only to discover that what we were desperately seeking already exists among us here on Earth.”



Skin of the earth… This is how I feel, all . . .

natural alignment of the heart remains towards the light

so let’s go w/that

design/trust for that

a nother way

ie: hosting-life-bits.. that io dance..


sam fb share mar 2017

As someone who spends way too much time thinking about the future of learning, I gave a talk recently in which I tried to paint a picture of where I think we are headed — maybe it will surprise you?

on movies.. and what is it we are choosing to dream about together.. collective zeitgiest… rec to watch her… et al… bob dylan commercial.. writing song w super computer

5 min – tech singularity: thru out course of life on earth..flat curve till now on human capacity for knowledge.. but there is a j curve moment coming.. once ai life pulls even with and then merges with .. rapidly surpasses natural intelligence.. all bets are off.. if aggregate all predictions.. roughly 2040

yeah.. intellect ness has nothing to do with grokking ness.. (which to me is what we need.. not any kind of intellect ness)

8 min – every kindergartner today is like the pheonix in her.. yet in ed.. still talking common core et al.. so .. what’s next.. what do future schools need to be designed to do..

9 min – ed last 100 yrs 1\ student as empty vessel .. head must be filled  2\ assembly line.. batch and cue young people into econ largely fixed and known..

making up money ness

10 min – so experience.. only way to acquire it (ed) is to sit in lecture hall.. this is already changing.. ie.. still in lecture hall but each w/laptop.. we have to think how to prep young people for their future rather than our past

no prep man

11 min – way we’ve always thought about human potential was the bell curve.. unconscious assumption.. and it’s not true…statistics is the mathematics of static value.. is that a human?.. no sense to aggregate potential ie: in a room..

need a means that is a means sans any form of m\a\p

13 min – what would it need to look like for each school to allow each individual to follow their own j curve.. via self-talk as data..

first of all.. no schools.. no ‘allowing’ ness.. so even beyond city as school models et al

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature

ie: tech as it could be

ultimate measure of success is not what children know.. but who they become

eduaimoniative surplus

14 min – fundamental end goal of schooling is not content knowledge.. it’s merely the means by which we reach the fundamental end goal.. which is a set of skills and dispositions that can guide young people thru life

oi oi.. no not that sam.. no train

ensuring that every person understands what it means to be free

free dom..let’s do this firstfree art-ists...for (blank)’s sake

we have no idea what legit free people are like..

15 min – we have dual allegiance to core values of capitalism (free to consume) and democracy (conscience)…

partial ness is killing us.. even if just democracy.. any form of democratic admin.. because we can’t seem to let go enough to focus on .. conscience..

16 min – each human being is endowed by their creator with soul liberty.. we all have the right to be wrong.. purpose of understanding conscience.. is to put people in a position to reflect on.. of all i can say and do to commit myself to the world.. what *must i say/do/commit.. very diff notion of ed

*still cancer..  socrates supposed to law.. and any form of m\a\p.. we need to try curiosity over decision making.. more about the thing(s) you can’t not do.. and obligation ness is a dangerous/cancerous distraction from that

story about people grokking what matters.. every day.. as the day.. comes via .. self-talk as data

17 min – the consequence of believing that consumption is what we commit to rather than conscience

need a means to hear what is already on each heart

i believe we have a diff design principal we can follow… swarm video.. the organizing principal for future of learning..

swarms – and ant network and 99 and 1 and murmuration and free to fly and (stigmergy ness) – self-organizing

our findings:

1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

for that.. we need to org around legit needs

20 min – murmuration of starlings.. that’s what it means to be free.. having both the space to follow one’s own passion and to feel undeniably bound in that web of inescapable mutuality.. the *improvisatory choreography that reflects what we know about **human beings.. and how they learn

*improv\e ness.. no train..

**human nature ness.. human\e constitution ness

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

that’s what it means to be free.. brown belonging law.. et al

it’s a *civic order and a global ecosystem of people.. that.. because of changing nature of schooling/society.. put in better position than we were.. to understand from youngest age.. what it means to be free and what it means to follow ones conscience in service of creating a better and more equitable society

*nah.. still cancer.. ie: carhart-harris entropy law

there’s a nother way

equity.. everyone getting a go everyday.. let’s org for that


The Most Famous Nursery Schools in the World —And What They Can Teach Us

Original Tweet:

Reggio Emilia is a city of altars — to childhood, to imagination, and to the spirit of shared governance and democratic participation.

perfect if sans the gov/demo-partic

The goal is not knowledge; it’s communication

rather.. connectedness.. ie: augmenting interconnectedness.. which could be communication.. if this:

anything that can help a child communicate his or her inner thoughts with the people around them.

but unfortunately we keep adding this:

to achieve notable qualities of identity formation and to ensure that all children know how to belong to a community

we don’t need a how to – for community.. we just need a better means to listen to every voice ..everyday..  ie: tech as it could be..

other children can be discovered through a negotiation of ideas.. they discover how satisfying it is to exchange ideas and thereby transform their environment.

what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people not any how to’s or identities.. to better transform/exchange

ie: if it doesn’t start inside each heart/soul.. everyday.. we won’t truly be alive

The curriculum is not fixed; it’s emergent

i don’t think we use emergent to its full potential

ie: meadows undisturbed ecosystem:

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’

gets at our one ness.. that doesn’t need any training/negotiating/participating.. only listening

need: a means to undo our hierarchical listening so we can org around legit needs

Instead, every year each school delineates a series of related projects, some short-range and some long.

that’s curriculum.. nicer than what we have/do.. but not emergent..  let go:

as if the organization of daily life needed *a name, a website, and an English-language spokesperson to exist – omar aziz

*or a project

alive people need to have the bravery/space.. to change their mind everyday

but even more surprising was the freedom of exchange in expressing their imaginative ideas about what was making the shadows so odd

even imagining about shadows is limiting curiosity.. imagine .. 7bn of us .. getting to decide what to imagine/be-curious about.. everyday..

“Here we were not dealing with individual imaginations working separately,” Bruner concluded. “We were collectively involved in what is probably the most human thing about human beings, what psychologists and primate experts now like to call ‘intersubjectivity,’ which means arriving at a mutual understanding of what others have in mind. It is probably the *extreme flowering of our evolution as humanoids, without which our human culture could not have developed, and without which all our intentional attempts at **teaching something would fail.”

*i think we’ve fallen short in our flowering of humanoid ness.. i think it’s more about dancing together in trust.. i don’t know if we can ever understand what others have in mind.. better to assume good.. saves a ton of energy.. we keep spending our days on getting it right (even communication).. when we could just be listening deeper to the music already in each heart and trusting the dance (of all of us as one)

**we don’t need teaching..

As former mayor Graziano Delrio put it, “We in Reggio Emilia believe that we should manage our cities with the objective of building an *equal community, acting for the common good of citizens to guarantee equal dignity and equal rights. We assert the right of children to education from birth. The child is therefore a competent citizen. He or she is **competent in assuming responsibility for the city.

*rather equity (everyone getting a go everyday).. sans rights et al

**rather ie: cure ios city

what I witnessed in Reggio was less a case of adults loving children — though surely, they did. Instead, what I witnessed was a level of listening, attention, and care that came from an *unwavering belief that all children, even the newest among us, are social beings, predisposed, and possessing from birth a readiness to make significant ties with others, to communicate, and to find one’s place in the world of others.

if that’s true.. we need to let go.. big time.. and we need a mech to listen to every voice (as it could be)

mufleh humanity law: we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh


from sam’s newsletter:

Recently, I got the chance to learn about one community that has both a compelling answer, anda replicable model for all kinds of communities — whether rich or poor, urban or rural.
Its formula? Follow Mother Nature’s lead, in every instance.
from link:

Whatever sparks their natural curiosity, that’s what you should do.

let’s just facil daily curiosity

To build a thriving world, we must design the template of a living school, and create a prototype so that others can do the same.”

ie: cure ios city via a nother way (aka: org around legit needs)


Sam Chaltain’s Newsletter: The Seven Features of a Flourishing School
Original Tweet:

notes/quotes from part 1 (of 7) of newsletter:

So while it’s unrealistic for most of us to just burn the whole thing to the ground and start over, what we can do is critically (and systematically) revisit and renew our priorities and practices, and imagine how we might (re)design them in ways that align with the seven design principles of living systems

oh sam.. no burning needed.. but we do need a legit re\set.. revisiting and renewing will always take us back to same song ness

This work is not a quick fix: it’s multi-layered and multi-modal, requiring “urgent patience” on our part, and a willingness to consistently apply a different framework to the way we think about organizational (re)design.

this has changed sam.. for (blank)’s sake

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature ie: tech as it could be

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

Principle One: Identity (Name Your Story)

a story about people grokking what matters.. everyday..

quoted dan siegel and andreas weber

two books





seed & spark

sam on freedom