You could claim that the elephants, by destroying the acacias and uprooting the commiphora, are in effect gardening, creating conditions in which one of their favoured foods, grass, will continue to flourish and provide them with a good annual crop. But equally you could argue that the grass has recruited the elephants to help extend its empire and by growing more leaves than it needs for its survival, and developing a structure which allows it to be cropped without lethal damage, it is simply paying its employees a decent wage that it can well afford.
It’s no secret that America’s education debate is increasingly polarized and increasingly public. We see it every day on Twitter, in the headlines, and occasionally even on the picket line. The public discussion pits reformers who think that our education system is failing students against anti-reformers who think what’s wrong with our schools is the people trying to fix them. I’ve been immersed in American education for more than 20 years and have led a global education network for the last seven, and to me there’s no question that our school system must improve, and quickly. But today’s debate has become a distraction that keeps us paralyzed in old divisions and false debates, rather than uniting against common problems.
Two recent bestselling books on education, Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error and Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World, shine light on the conflict—and why taking a step back and embracing a global perspective is necessary to move forward.
one of my 2012 goals is to create a raynor ganan signature masala™—a sekrit spice blend that people will want to flavor everything from their eggs to their popcorn with. to do so, i’ve been scouring the local spice markets for exotic ingredients from far off corners of the globe. i have a rudimentary concoction right now but i’ve come to a very important realisation: namely, while i know what spices i like, i have no idea how spices go together. to help me better understand the synergy among turmeric and thyme and coriander and cream of tartar, i developed this chart which breaks down established spice blends into their (sometimes) shared ingredients. and now i am one step closer to inventing the next ranch seasoning.
on another flavor note: if you have any advice for me about what ingredients should go into the raynor ganan signature masala™, i would really really like to hear from you. perhaps you know of a rare local spice that the international flavor market overlooks. maybe you grow a special aphrodisiac mushroom in your basement and want to tell me how tasty it is. perhaps there was a fictional spice in a science fiction novel that you want me to investigate. let me know!