I had an awesome experience this week as part of a national effort to shine the light on school reform – not from some gilded stage or the bully pulpit of a television studio – but in classrooms and schools across the country, where the real educational professionals are making a difference in the lives of kids. It was on the occasion of a grassroots effort to declare November 22 as National Blogging for Real Education Reform Day and encourage educators across the country to contribute their ideas for continuing to bring our schools into the 21st century.
Twitter was the central medium for promoting yesterday's event and by the end of the day, over 384 people had contributed to the streaming conversation that included 1,110 tweets centered on public education reform. But most importantly, a majority of these professionals contributed in a more substantial way by blogging their views and opinions on what needs to be done to improve student achievement. Even U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opined on this extraordinary event in an ED.gov post that stated:
There’s been a great conversation happening online today on the National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform. I appreciate how many educators have taken time to share their ideas thoughtfully with the rest of us....At the U.S. Department of Education, we’ve been listening in. I am convinced that the best ideas come from classrooms and communities across the nation. I am committed to supporting the great work that is happening in states and districts.
Secretary Duncan even posted a plug for the event and his contributory remarks on his Facebook page! And while most folks know that the Secretary and I don't see eye-to-eye on many issues of substance, his acknowledgement of the importance of yesterday's event is a step in the right direction for creating a more inclusive approach to the political momentum towards education reform.
Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools in Virginia summed up the day's effort in what I refer to as the “capstone blog” titled, Imagine. November 22, 2010:
Each post, each tweet, each comment contributed to the weaving of a tapestry of voices from all the spaces of our lives: teachers, assistant principals, principals, central administrators, superintendents, higher education, parents, educational activists and, eventually the U.S. Secretary of Education.
I am struck that no superheroes made today happen. We didn’t even need just regular, run of the mill heroes to make today happen. Rather, today represents what it will take to transform our public schools from places that are mostly constructed for factory workers to spaces that are designed for contemporary learners- our children. It will take all of us leading together. It will take all of us working together.
One cannot fully appreciate what was accomplished yesterday until you've had a chance to read through the many outstanding blog posts that were collected and take time to browse through the Twitter transcript to get a better feel for the conversations as well as the momentum. Here's an opportunity for you to join in this professional dialogue, stretch and even challenge your own thinking about school reform, and perhaps become part of our growing Twitter community in the future. The time is right, the purpose is worthy, the goal is to provide the best possible educational system for our kids.
Besides my personal blog contribution titled, Real Reform Begins with Raising Expectations, here are the three main links that will open your doors to a rich professional learning experience: