Virtual Chat: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg


Okay, I dove in, and I’m dying to share thoughts and read thoughts with you all about Sandberg’s theories on women in the workplace.   To be honest with you, I’m not sold on Sandberg yet.  But I’m wavering.  I do like this idea of leaning in, but it’s complicated, and when does Sandberg start talking about that?? (Disclaimer: I’m only on chapter 3).

Let’s start a comment thread to fuel the fire for our virtual chat here on Monday night at 8PM EST.  (Click on comments underneath the post’s title to see the thread and add comments).

Girl Power! (But what kind of power are we talking about?)

Here’s what’s running through my mind:

1) Sandberg claims that she does not advocate for all women having the same objectives, i.e. that it’s cool if some woman choose to go to work and that some women choose to stay home, saying “Some of the most important contributions to our world are made by caring for one person at a time.  We each have to chart our own unique course and define which goals fit our lives, values, and dreams.” (Sandberg 10).  However, she also claims that the only way for women to gain equal status with men is if women hold more positions of power.    She advocates for “ambition in any pursuit”.  Let’s keep it real Sheryl- those two ideas are dichotomous, and in my mind, they punch holes in your lean in theory. I question whether it’s possible for women to gain enough power in the world  to attain total equality with men given the biological drive women feel to stay home with their children, or spend time with their children.  The gap between men and women is the widest disparity in the world-it cuts through time, it cuts through culture.  Moreover, I question the idea and interpretation of “power” in our society, and wonder how attaining the power that Sandberg’s talking about will provide equality between men and women.

2) I love the connection between Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Sandberg’s Lean In: both profess how speaking up as a women in the workplace will laud you the title of “bitch” or that you are being “bossy”.  I work in a place full of women, and I still feel every time I speak up and am direct, people feel hurt or that I am being “bitchy”.  Sandberg says, “When a girl tries to lead, she is often labeled bossy. Boys are seldom called bossy because a boy taking the role of the boss does not surprise or offend” (19). I wonder how many other women feel like when they take the lead, they are judged negatively? Moreover, how can we as women support one another in these scenarios as opposed to pull each other down through gossip, or the expectation that we should receive emotional vindication at every meeting in the workplace?

Comment at your own pace!

In solidarity, Kass

Addendum: Let’s take two weeks to read this book.  It’s loaded! Can’t wait to comment throughout the weekend and chat on Monday via

Double Addendum: This is a friendly chat designed to provoke our thoughts and to grow and learn from one another.  We might think differently, but that’s the awesome part.

Happy Holidays, Kass!

Happy Holidays, Kass!

December 24, 2012  |  Family  |  No Comments

So there’s this little Brooklyn woman that I love. She’s all awesome and stuff. The kids she teaches, the friends we share, the daughter we have, me — all of us are lucky to know her. In this season of thanks, I am infinitely thankful that she’s my one.

We’re taking a few days off the blog to celebrate the season, but we’ll be right back to business after we eat all these holiday cookies. Have fun with the folks that you love. I’m certainly having fun with mine.

Hip Hop

Hip Hop

December 23, 2012  |  Culture  |  No Comments

This week’s #hiphoped conversation has really stuck with me. The discussion of Chief Keef’s music aural filth caused us to realize something significant. We are in danger of failing this generation in some profound ways. The youth have always had something to say. Historically, the resulting question, then, has been “Are we listening?” In the case of this generation, the query that pains me is “Do we even know how to listen anymore?”

I’m officially an old man.

I can hear the insatiable anger in Keef’s music. I even understand why it’s there. We’ve coming off of one of the bloodiest summers on record in his hometown, Chicago – black and brown kids murdered by their peers at a rate that would make the klan jealous. Many of the schools there are more segregated today than they were when The Supreme Court issued the order to integrate in 1954… Read More

Common Core Standards

December 23, 2012  |  Teaching  |  No Comments

New York State has taken the Common Core standards quite seriously. I, personally, love the challenge and heightened expectations associated with a national set of standards, but what I admire most about this recent conversation about college/career readiness is the implications to finally realize the promise of Brown vs. BOE.

For the past two years, people all over the country have scrambled for resources to make authentic reading, writing, and critical thinking a reality in every classroom. I’m honored to work with a team of educators who have been studying this work in communities in almost every state. Here is a collection of videos that were made to showcase what some teachers have been doing in their classrooms to meet this challenge. There are brilliant ideas here that you can use in your own work. Warmest of holidays. We’ve got work to do…