10 to the 2nd power = 100 unit triangles; 7 x 10 = 70

Memo to Striking Teachers

Kirby Urner
4 min readNov 7, 2023

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Given my location and focus, Portland (Oregon) and curriculum development respectively, you might imagine I’m seeing the current teachers’ strike (in November 2023) as an opportunity to market my services.

That would not be quite right though, because there’s no circuit directly connecting public schools with private sector entrepreneurial types with strong curriculum ideas like me. That’s because public schools require a lot of standardization, and the bureaucracy around curriculum selection is much more centralized. What I do is work through lobbies, partly just to create some buzz.

In addition, no law prevents me from doing outreach to the teachers directly, offering enrichment courses, of the type offered by PSU under the heading of professional development. A few hours in such courses per year might even be required to maintain teacher certification, I’m not sure. I’m not offering accreditation, only some fresh ideas.

What do I want to reach out about? What’s so special about “my” curriculum? Hint: it’s not just mine.

We already have Model United Nations, and Model NATO (in select schools) so why do we need to discuss World Game? Why would we disrupt an already packed mathematics track with new exhibits?

Why should we discuss Robert Moses, urban renewal, gentrification, zoning? The history of World’s Fairs? Like that one in Chicago featuring the miracle of electricity, courtesy of Westinghouse? Why would we want to learn about that?

My curriculum has always been about “required viewing” not just “required reading”. When I lived close to NYU in Manhattan, I schemed to establish a nearby movie viewing venue that could accommodate these students, whereas in actual fact, home theater would bring it to them (and later their phones). My IMAX Stanley Theater project fell by the wayside.

The kind of required viewing we might require: some key documentaries, such as Wild Wild Country for some anthropology or sociology class. That’s about an attempt to graft a somewhat already out of control experiment in communal living from India to Oregon. We want to learn from that experience, in part because we’re not ready to totally give up on mixing education with world touring. We want higher education to involve travel.

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