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Adam Burk

Adam aims to serve the greater good; alleviate unnecessary suffering; and create beautiful, sane human communities in concert with the living planet. Recently, he has helped to rebuild local food systems in Maine in large part through school food services, organized the TEDxDirigo conference, and is a digital organizer with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA).
Adam Burk has written 39 posts for Cooperative Catalyst

It Starts with You

This week’s question “how do we act as catalysts of change within our present circumstances?” is one I think about everyday. I am constantly attempting to be an effective catalyst of change, and have had some successes and many failures. As a customer I worked with Whole Foods to remove paper products from their shelves … Continue reading

Subverting Insanity

The question this week relates to how I see the possibility for the creation of authentic learning experiences during lean political and financial times. My colleagues have done a brilliant job articulating approaches varying from first approaching one’s self as what needs to change, to making deliberate decisions about where to exert your energy, and … Continue reading

Learning Like Spies

How do we support students developing as efficacious self-directed, social learners and involve parents as partners in that journey? This is a question I ask myself daily. While I work in a progressive environment, there are certain methods that are not. There are thematic units, individual studies, and differentiated instruction, but there are also cookie … Continue reading

Sacred Wounds

In Wounded by School, Kirsten Olson validates the experiences we have all had. Whether that’s the formation of a self-image that we are incapable or stupid, reflecting the narrow and inflexible curriculum of public schools; or the dulling of our senses and joy for learning as we do rote memorization in order to regurgitate on … Continue reading

Public Education is Anything but Free

This is not a very complex issue to date. Systematically, our public education system has been about training students to sit still and listen to the information politicians, administrators, and teachers have determined is important for them to know. Their job is then to repeat back that information to confirm its transmission. Our current educational … Continue reading

Standardizing Democracy-Part 1

The Dark Side Let me be frank. I don’t get excited about standards. I have colleagues that I esteem who think they are vital to a strong educational system and I respect their opinion. And to an extent I get it. Here’s my problem with them. They’re boring, they’re not radically different from anything else … Continue reading

Standardizing Democracy-Part 2

The Light Side Now that I have purged most of my skepticism, please allow me the opportunity to express how common core standards may facilitate a move towards a more democratic education system. First of all, as others have mentioned, having national standards will remove roadblocks in interstate collaboration and information sharing. This will assist … Continue reading

The DNA of Democracy

“Democracy. Every man was the master of his own soul. Although it was wisdom to cooperate, a person was not required to if he did not think it was right.”-Jean Craighead George, Water Sky, p. 132 My Top Ten Ways to Create Democracy in Schools 1. No Grades 2. Explain to students that it is … Continue reading

Education for Sane Planetary Citizenship

Education needs to be for the development of profoundly sane personalities. It is nothing less that will bring about the environmental restoration and rejuvenation necessary to avoid the worst of possible scenarios. It is nothing less that will bring about an end to armed conflict. It is nothing less that will be able to confront the problems yet to be known. Continue reading

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