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Leadership and Activism, Philosophical Meanderings, School Stories

We need more humour in education reform

Education reform, both north of the border where I am in Canada, and south of our border in the Unites States is a very serious business. Everywhere I see the discussion taking place, I see heated conversations and a lot of rhetoric being passed both ways, between those who appear to be driving a very corporate driven privatization of education agenda, and those of us who would like a more democratic schooling system.

The problem is that not enough actual conversation is happening, and the people in the middle, whose minds we would sway, are left to follow whomever has the loudest voice, and the most money to promote their version of what schools should look like. Those of us at the Cooperative Catalyst are not being paid for our thoughts and ideas, we all genuinely are concerned about education, and want to talk openly and honestly about what would work for education reform.

One effective way to distribute a message is to use humour and satire. In fact, some of the best remembered messages in history have come from comedy. A project I have started, but could use more support for, is a blog for original educational comics, poking fun at the issues facing education today.

If you’d like to help add some humour to the debate, and point out how ridiculous some of the arguments being made are, please let us know by adding a comment here. You don’t need to be a tremendous artist, as there are lots of ways to produce interesting looking comics using technology. All you will need is a willingness to poke fun at the education reform debate, and possibly a thick skin depending on the reaction to your work.

About David Wees

David Wees is a Canadian teacher with 7 years international experience. He started his career in inner city NYC in a failing school. He met his wife in the spring of 2005 and together they moved to London, England where David taught in a small private school which was David’s first exposure to the International Baccalaureate curriculum. London was too expensive, even compared to NYC, so after 2 more years they moved on to Bangkok, Thailand where David taught for 2 years. David has co-authored a textbook for IB Mathematics, and has his Masters degree in Educational Technology. He is now in Vancouver, Canada, working as a learning specialist in technology. He blogs regularly at


7 thoughts on “We need more humour in education reform

  1. I love this concept.

    I think we’re missing the humor and we’re missing the power of humor. The Onion offers scathing satire and in the process reveals deeper issues that the regular news media misses. Jon Stewart has some of the best media criticism with humorous juxtaposition of both sides.

    Humor allows us to ask harder questions, delve deeper into nuance and show the absurdity of the rhetoric in powerful ways.

    I’d love to participate in the project. You’ve probably figured out that I enjoy writing satire – whether it’s a driver’s test for toddlers, a post about socialist water dispensers or a letter from Superman about why he can’t save education, I have a blast with that genre.

    Posted by johntspencer | May 26, 2011, 8:57 am
  2. The yin and yang of comedy and tragedy are perhaps too obvious a comment on my part. Instead I defer to Bill Hicks bit about the kid hassling him on the airplane. The kid tugs at the exit handle on the plane and instead of stopping him Hicks quiets everyone with “Shh…. wait…. we’re all about to learn something important.”

    Sometimes I want to just shut up and let the Gates Foundation, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, et al tug at the handle so we can all learn something. Comedy is the most violent hobby one can indulge in (besides roller derby) and I agree, let the savaging begin.

    Posted by Terry Elliott | May 26, 2011, 11:09 am
  3. “Department of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little Shits No Longer Worth It.”,18461/

    The Onion, November 15, 2010

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | May 26, 2011, 1:30 pm
  4. I like it, David. I’ll work on a little piece of satire for the Coöp or the comics site, though my comics are primitive and old school pen and paper affairs.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | May 27, 2011, 8:50 am


  1. Pingback: Chad Sansing Educational Advocacy Quotes™ « Cooperative Catalyst - May 31, 2011

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