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.

My Principals Are Rock Solid

Cornelius - Photo by Melissa K.

My Principals Are Rock Solid

January 22, 2015  |  Teaching  |  No Comments

I had an opportunity to work with some amazing principals today. In a time when school-and-youth-related issues can get kinda heavy, I am always so moved by the amazing things that teachers and school leaders do to ensure the best possible future for children.

I talked a lot about technology and resource sharing, so I wanted to… use my technology to share some resources.

Big love to all the principals! …and yeah, Knicks!

– Corn

What to teach when reading is hard...

Read a book. (Image from Ali C Photography -

What to teach when reading is hard…

December 10, 2014  |  Culture, Teaching  |  No Comments

My colleagues Carla, Natalie, Shveta, and I are leading this institute right now.

I’m a lucky guy. I get to spend three days with a fantastic team and some of the country’s most dedicated teachers making possibility out of what can feel heavy and impossible sometimes. My job is to help districts and schools turn kids into passionate readers and writers. What this really means is I get to learn about the different cities, villages, and communities that I serve, so that I can help their young people to discover the things that inspire them to read and write.

Many of you have followed my journey these last few years. My work has taken me to schools all over the world, and I am continually shocked by the rampant structural inequity that exists within and among schools. This has been well documented — even in my own city.

We all know how this plays out. When whole communities, entire schools, or groups of teachers don’t get what they need, students suffer. Minorities, poor students, and students with disabilities do so disproportionally.

These challenges have persisted for generations. What I love about our profession is that teachers are always take the lead in the fight to overcome these challenges. As people ask, “What next?” teachers don’t answer with words. They answer with deeds. They gather their students and teach. We know that there are no easy answers. We also know that progress begins with us — great teaching, resource sharing, community building… We know that science, math, art, and history are the heart of this progress. All of those things need a foundation of strong literacy.

How do we deliver all of this to populations of students who need tremendous inspiration and support?

This week, we get to think all of this. More importantly we get to act on it.

Here are some of the resources that will assist us in that work.


Some Resources for teaching Critical Literacy

Tamir Rice. 12 years old.

Some Resources for teaching Critical Literacy

November 24, 2014  |  Culture, Teaching  |  34 Comments

…so Mary and I are at it again. We’ve spent the last year lifetime thinking about kids and their reading. One of the things that Mary often says is that our profession spends too much time preparing kids for other English classes and not enough time preparing children to read the beauty and complexity in their own lives. That complexity is delivered by the second — media, friendships, adolescence, family, school, and community all communicate with a gravity that can steamroll children who are not armed with the critical tools to analyze, critique, and to question.

Avoiding hard topics — gender, race, class — has never been an option for us.

This has been especially resonant for me as I watch my young ones wait for a grand jury to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Or as I consider the weight of Akai Gurley on Thursday or Tamir Rice on Sunday. (And that’s just this weekend.) How do I help the students that I serve to process these things on Tuesday?

We’re leading a study group today that looks at the last 18 months in media, specifically Hip hop, and we’ll be practicing how to use it as path to critical reading and thinking.