Welcome home, my love, for the first time: a reflection on the urgency of love (and a new song)

Welcome home, my love, for the first time: a reflection on the urgency of love (and a new song)

Right now, at this moment, I have two kids: a nine-year-old who is technically my stepson, and a three-year-old who is my biological son.

Julian and I met just before he turned two, so we’ve been together a long time now. Loving and parenting him have changed my life in ways that were immediate and ways that have turned out to be gradual.

When Zeke came, change struck in a bewildering flash.

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Our Lives on this Earth: A Story of Soul Connecting with Spirit

Our Lives on this Earth: A Story of Soul Connecting with Spirit

By Ryan Flesc

It was Nov. 6, 2016. I had spent three months following the Water Protectors camping out in the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota on social media, and listening quietly to the intellect of my heart. My heart wanted me there, so I posted to social media: “I have spent too much time sitting in the comfort of my own home saying to myself that something I see is wrong. I'm getting up and I'm going to Standing Rock to show my support with my life, not the share button.”

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What do we really mean when we talk about school choice?

What do we really mean when we talk about school choice?

What do we really mean when we talk about school choice?

It’s a much-debated idea in the education world, this idea of school choice. Just a mention of the term often has people jumping onto either side of the charter-school line in the sand.

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Starbucks closed its stores today to renew its commitment to... Third Place? Huh. What's that?

Starbucks closed its stores today to renew its commitment to... Third Place? Huh. What's that?

I’m sure you know by now that two Black men were arrested after a Starbucks employee called them in for being Black a few weeks back.

Every Starbucks closed today in response to that incident, and every Starbucks employee in universes both known and otherwise attended a racial bias training this afternoon.

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Why I won't be playing fantasy football this fall for the first time in almost 30 years

Why I won't be playing fantasy football this fall for the first time in almost 30 years

I’m about to turn 37 years old, and I’ve been playing fantasy football for almost 30 years. It is a bit crazy, but it’s true: I helped organize my first fantasy football league in 1990 as a fourth-grader in Fargo, ND.

But here we are in the spring of 2018, and fantasy football is suddenly unexpectedly interesting to me. I care again! I specifically want to quit.

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Paying tribute to Scott Hutchison, a man whose music has been a life preserver for me through some stormy seas, after learning his battle with depression ended this week

Paying tribute to Scott Hutchison, a man whose music has been a life preserver for me through some stormy seas, after learning his battle with depression ended this week

Back in 2010, I saw the band Frightened Rabbit play a beautiful show at a little venue in Portland called Berbati’s Pan.

I’d been listening to their album, The Midnight Organ Fight, almost non-stop for a long time at that point. It’s such a sad set of songs, but so earnest. So beautiful in their vulnerability and in lead singer/songwriter Scott Hutchison’s way of describing heartbreak, loss, depression and thoughts of suicide that is intimately relatable and also unlike I’ve ever heard it said before.

Scott went missing a couple days ago, with friends and family describing him as having been in a “fragile state.” Police in Scotland found his body today. A few days ago, he and I were both 36. Now he was 36, and I still am.

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Let's talk about the erosion of the soul that quietly comes along with constantly confronting racism

Let's talk about the erosion of the soul that quietly comes along with constantly confronting racism

By Naomi Langley

Today I had this sort of epiphany...

I'm tired. Really, really tired.

I'm tired, and I'm drained from this ongoing conversation on racism. Honestly. I know the work needs to be done. I know there are white people who react super positively to my words, thoughts and feelings. Some of y'all really get it, and it gives me hope — hope for my baby cousins, nephews and nieces that are coming up in this world.

But there are others that get so mad — and get me so mad — and it becomes a dark cycle of anger and aggression. These people seek to end the conversation, continuing to silence us.

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It's not about charter schools. It's about kids.

It's not about charter schools. It's about kids.

It’s not about charter schools. They’re not the point.

It’s about kids.

That’s the message I heard loud and clear at the WA Charters annual conference this past weekend. It hummed quietly like a fridge that you only notice in those moments when everything else is quiet. Like a mantra that disappears into the fabric all day long, easy to consciously miss but impossible to not soak in.

It’s not about charter schools. Charters are a vessel, not a destination. It’s about kids. It's about kids. It's about kids.

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'Parents want to be authentically included. They want to be respected.'

'Parents want to be authentically included. They want to be respected.'

Recapping the Washington State Charters Schools Association Conference morning general session:

The conference's lunch session got underway with a slip of the tongue from WA Charters CEO that tickled me as he introduced Michael Wooten, the inspiring, passionate grandparent of a young student who has found hope and a home at one of Washington's charter schools.

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Let's get to know Washington's charter school movement at this weekend's annual conference

The Washington State Charters Schools Association Conference is this weekend, which means we get to take a look behind the curtain of the charter school movement in Washington. What are they thinking about? What are they talking about? What are their priorities and their blind spots?

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The rock-and-a-hard-place reality of being a parent advocate

The rock-and-a-hard-place reality of being a parent advocate

It’s a strange thing, trying to advocate for equitable public schools as a parent of current students.

On the one hand, short-sighted, short-term thrusts aren't going to lead to the lasting systemic change we need. On the other hand, incremental, long-term plays won't have much impact on my kids, who are, you know, here right now.

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Thoughts and images from the Civil Rights Museum on Jackie Robinson Day in Memphis

Thoughts and images from the Civil Rights Museum on Jackie Robinson Day in Memphis

Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day — the 61-year anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier by becoming the first Black player in otherwise-all-white Major League Baseball (technically Jackie was not the first ever, but the first since Moses Fleetwood Walker played a season in the big leagues in the 1880s, but that’s another story).

This year, I spent the day in Memphis with my family, and it turns out I couldn’t have commemorated the day any better.

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Our New Superintendent Is the Change We Need, But Frankly Not as Much Change as I Want

Our New Superintendent Is the Change We Need, But Frankly Not as Much Change as I Want

It doesn’t feel like we’ve found a savior. We’ve got Wedge Antilles here, not Luke Skywalker. Wedge is nice, but he’s just one good pilot, you know? He’s a quiet leader, an accomplished rebel, but we need to blow up the Death Star, and we all know he’s not going to be the one to do that.

With Juneau, it feels similar, like we’ve found a good, highly qualified public school superintendent who will be committed to doing more than just paying lip service to the need for equity. She's all in. That much is crystal clear within a few minutes with her. But because she doesn’t have a fully revolutionary track record, I don’t believe she will make a difference in time for my kids. I don’t think she’s going to move to Seattle and blow up the Death Star.

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Black History Today: The Reeses and the Tiplers, living embodiments of Black love

Black History Today: The Reeses and the Tiplers, living embodiments of Black love

When I think about role models of “love” as we know it — not in the heart shaped boxes or the hallmark cards, but in that true connection that endures — honestly, so many pairings of people who have made the choice every day to love and honor each other come to mind.

The narrative of Black love being dead is yet another sad narrative that lacks full truth. That said, when I think of couples that exhibit what it means to love, two come to mind.

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Can Seattle's choice to hire Denise Juneau elevate the voices of our most marginalized students?

Can Seattle's choice to hire Denise Juneau elevate the voices of our most marginalized students?

The Seattle School Board chose our new superintendent last night, and it’s going to be Denise Juneau.

Juneau became the first openly gay candidate for federal office in Montana when she ran for a seat in the House in 2016, and she will become Seattle’s first Native American superintendent when she officially takes over for Larry Nyland on July 1.

She was the clear choice among the three finalists, and while Juneau is certainly a traditional candidate in one sense — she has been a classroom teacher, administrator and the elected superintendent of Montana’s schools — I applaud the board for bringing a genuinely new perspective to the office.

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