Jeff, Researcher, School Founder & Father, CA
Jeff is a long-time former teacher in Oakland, a professor and researcher in San Francisco, and the founder of the Roses in Concrete School in Oakland. He is also a father to 2 twin boys. He was interviewed by Nicole, an avid fan of his work.
When you think of your children into adulthood, what would comprise a good life?
I'm clear about the fact that if my son's were to "succeed" in school and then chase a career, they would be unhealthy. Now their bank account might be healthy, but they won't be healthy. And likewise, if they genuinely pursue their passion, then other things start to take care of themselves so to speak. If you're passionate about what you're doing, you'll find a way to make ends meet. You'll be whole. You'll be much more fulfilled and you'll be around people that have similar interests and similar passions. It may take you longer to get to a place of relative economic stability, but you'll get there because you'll be driven in a different way. You'll be driven by purpose instead of profit.
What is the role of schooling in achieving that good life?
It varies widely. If I had to reduce it down to something what it looks like is really deeply caring, invested relationships, both between the adults and the children and families but also between children. That you would see care in every pocket and that care would be the response to classic developmental challenges that children face like bullying and self-esteem...I think that schools currently remain silent to a large degree on those issues, or even contribute to them. That's the major pivot, is that schools become much more about relationship and much more about listening to, protecting, and wrapping our arms around children. And then those are the outcomes we chase, those are the things we measure. The depth and quality of relationships amongst the children, that they feel cared about, loved and protected.