Quiz: How Obsessed with fighting Education Reform are YOU?
If your answer is a) A LOT, then you were probably in Chicago last weekend, for the 2nd annual Network for Public Education conference.
I was there too. Wasn’t it just the best ever?!
Sadly, all good things must end. Boo. Just as I was getting used to being surrounded by some of the most incredible ed activists raising hell today, I found myself back home alone in my little kitchen, chopping onions and sorting the mail.
But I’m not ready to let go yet. No way. Instead, I am stealing a page from Tiger Beat magazine as a way to capture the giddy joy I felt all weekend, in the presence of greatness.
True confession: Tiger Beat meant a lot to me as a kid, when we used to have to anxiously wait (what’s that?) for the latest edition to come out. We would then bike up to the local Tom Thumb convenience store and buy it, along with a package of Bub’s Daddy gum. Oh the joy of paging through the mag, highlighting our fave singers and actors!! Now, my attentions have shifted from the big screen to those who occupy school board meetings and fill up my Twitter feed with fighting words, but I still kind of dig the Tiger Beat format. Especially the quizzes!
Quiz: Which education activist is YOUR ultimate soul mate?
A) Diane Ravitch. She’s funny but serious, all at the same time. Diane is smart and not afraid to be seen in a NPE t-shirt! Woo-hoo! She also did a great job with Chicago’s finest, Karen Lewis.
B) Jitu Brown. This Chicago activist is so cool it’s hard to look away (so don’t!). Jitu is super smart and dead on, with loads of practical experience and a tireless commitment to fighting for the community schools all kids deserve. Everything he says just bounces off the walls and sticks right to you. Love it!
C) Neshellda Johnson. Neshellda is a new activist on the national scene, and she is definitely worth getting to know better. Neshellda is a teacher from Memphis and was caught on tape this year, giving hell to the forces of privatization trying to charterize her school district. Neshellda!! (I can’t find the video; if anyone has it, I’d love to see it again.)
D) The Triple Threat: Jose Luis Vilson (The JLV), Jennifer Berkshire (Edushyster), and Peter Greene (Curmudgication). Don’t try to counsel these three out of their activism! All of them are a hoot, with depth of knowledge and pushback to spare. Smart, funny, and totally rad, their lunchtime convo on Saturday was tasty.
E) Tanaisa Brown from Newark, New Jersey. All year I have been bowing at the feet (virtually, of course) of Tanaisa and her fellow student activists, who got big props at the conference for occupying the office of Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson! Tanaisa opened the NPE conference with a soul-stirring speech that included the chant, “I believe that we will win!” With Tanaisa in the lead, I totally agree!
Poll: Which national union leader is your fave? Randi Weingarten or Lily Eskelsen-Garcia?
Both promised not to accept any more “funny money” for the AFT or the NEA, respectively, so it’s kind of hard to choose. This one might be just too hot to handle, so maybe we’ll let our good friend Mercedes Schneider advise us this time around…
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Where do Randi and Lily stand on the Opt Out movement?
QUOTE-WORTHY! Jesse Hagopian, Seattle high school teacher extraordinaire, led a super inspiring breakout session on testing, opting out, and the connection to the Black Lives Matter movement, along with his fellow Seattle education activist Rita Green, education chair of the Seattle King County NAACP.
At their session, someone floored the room with this tidbit:
Testing has become a cover for society’s inability to deal with poverty and inequality.
Feel it, and watch this:
So accountability should start with politicians fully funding our schools, huh? BREAKING NEWS!
Hope to see you next year! Until then–carry on, everyone.