showing people the difference they can make

The title of this post is a quote from Anthony Cody, in his response to a comment I posted on his fascinating blog. But I am starting in the middle of the story….

Mr. Cody starts off by saying:

Two weeks ago I traveled to Seattle and spent most of the day meeting with leaders of the Gates Foundation, discussing their work around education reform. I have been critical of the impact their agenda has had, but they expressed an interest in opening up a dialogue. This blog post will be the first in a series of exchanges that will explore some of the key issues in education. We plan a process where we will take turns posting our perspective on a given theme, followed by a response from the other party. All posts will be carried here, and at the Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog. We will ask everyone to join in a lively discussion. The education reform debate has deteriorated at times—our goal is to engage in a constructive conversation, to turn down the heat, and to seek a bit more light.

In the weeks to come we will get into some nitty gritty issues, such as what it means to “measure” teacher effectiveness? What is the role of poverty in relationship to education reform? What is the purpose of a k-12 education? And what role should the drive for profit play in our schools? But as our starting point, we are going to take a narrower focus, and tackle something a bit more concrete. This first exchange will focus on these questions: How can educators create a strong professional culture in our schools? How do we build the teaching profession?

What follows are ten posts, 5 each from Anthony and representatives from the Gates Foundation spanning July 23rd to September 3rd. There is a ton to read – it took me a couple of days to wade through the tennis match and most of the comments left by a handful of community members (I have no idea who they are). In the end, I was extremely impressed by Anthony Cody’s persuasive and very well-supported arguments, in stark contrast to the brief, almost dismissive efforts of the Gates Foundation that left me feeling like they were playing the “you’re ok, I’m ok” game.

If nothing else, Read the rest of this entry »

This Saturday, Resource Fair at BTW

Sheri Williamson has been hard at work working with the school district administration, school officials, volunteers and local service providers to help bring the Resource Fair to Unit 4 again. The school district has a nice flyer up on their page (also syndicated by Will Kyles):

Sheri is also passing out the Spanish version:

SP Resouce Day Flyer – September

Also, Sheri is working hard with others to form a Parent Advisory Committee. The first meeting will be Monday September 24th from 6:pm to 7:pm. And yes, that does overlap the U4 Board’s “Public Hearing on the Budget”, unfortunately. I will provide more information about this new Parent Advisory Committee shortly (I have a spanish flyer but still looking for the english one) – the details of the group are a little in flux, but there is a lot of cool discussions happening. Just to drop a teaser, this new group will also have some element of parent advocacy tied in as well.


Update: Here are the Parent Advisory flyers:

Parent Advisory Group

SP Parent Advisory (spanish)