This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Network for Public Education’s (NPE) second annual conference in Chicago. It was like a revival meeting! Activists from across the U.S. were there to cheer each other on and to learn how others are supporting public education. When speakers got up to talk about the Opt-Out movement in New Jersey, hundreds of people got up and cheered. When Diane Ravitch pointed out the students who occupied the offices of their school superintendent to protest the onerous PARCC testing, the audience cheered and raised their fists in a show of support.
Over the two days of the conference I had the opportunity to attend a wide variety of sessions. Some I will elaborate on later, but for now here are some quotes I jotted down during the two days:
“Our children are [being used as] instruments of profit.” Jitu Brown
“Stop calling these people ‘reformers.’ They are ‘colonizers.’ ” Jitu Brown
“Teacher colleges are seeing a reduced enrollment due to the state [Michigan] teacher test.” Western Michigan Professor/attendee
“The extreme right is looking to undermine the fundamental properties of democracy.” Presenter unknown
“Media Matters did a study of education stories on television. They found that teachers are interviewed 9% of the time.” Hilary Tone
“We have bad test scores. Why is America still here?” Yong Zhao
“I had to raise $70,000 to run for the school board.” Shanthi Gonzales
“I don’t know of any school that has improved by being closed.” Diane Ravitch
“Stop Arne Duncan from being the H.R. office for every school district in America.” Randi Weingarten
“The Florida Department of Education refused to agree that no teacher should be evaluated on the results of a student they’ve never met.” Lily Eskelsen Garcia.
“They [ed reformers] have the ‘Stepford Child Syndrome.’ They think every kid is the same, can learn from the same curriculum and do the same on the standardized test.” Lily Eskelson Garcia
“Teachers have terrible character flaw – you’re humble. Get out there and brag about what we do.” Lily Eskelson Garcia
“We [teachers] are the ‘first responders’ to poverty.” Randi Weingarten
“We opted our daughter out from state testing. So far she has been home seven of the nine days of testing.” Steve Baker
PS – Sorry to all 31 of my loyal followers who have been sitting on the edge of their seats for the past few months waiting for my next post. The NPE has re-energized me so look for more posts soon.