Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dialing for Duncan

Following our truncated, technology-challenged call on Monday, the phone rang in California and Kansas on Tuesday afternoon. At the other end of the line was Arne Duncan.

Anthony Cody in California and Marsha Ratzel in Kansas were receiving a follow up from Duncan. He wanted to hear what they didn't have the opportunity to say. Marsha had just finished an intense day in front of sixth graders anxious for the last day of school this Friday and spent 15 minutes in dialogue (at least half the time we had as a group on Monday)
Visit their blogs to see exactly how those conversations progressed.
And progressed is the key word.
There may be opportunities to pick up where we were cut off.
That is our focus right now. What are the next steps?
It appears that this question is back on the table.
While we all regroup, I urge you not to cut yourself off from these discussions. The teachers at the other end of the line represent the entire geographic spectrum of the United States.
And we are all on a similar page (perhaps with minor divisions on the details.) The twelve cover the gamut from Special Education to Advanced Placement.
From Alaska (Bob Williams) to Florida (Rian Fike).
Five are in the battle weary California (Anthony Cody, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Eleana Aguilar, Sandee Palmquist, and Chuck Olynyk). They are facing massive layoffs and closures.
The middle section of the country is well represented by Renee Moore in the equity starved Mississippi), Nancy Flanagan (Michigan), and the passionate, bold, persistent Marsha Ratzel in Kansas.

We represent only teachers.
We are looking only for an opportunity to be heard before the accusations of failure and the firings go up another notch.
We want to be the reform we can see so clearly that has a real potential to lift up the children of the nation and quite possibly set the entire country on a new path.
You may be needed in the near future.
There may be time to pass the baton on to other classroom teachers. Get ready for the pass.
Because your voice may be needed if we are to influence changes in the law that will affect our professional lives for a very long time.
Educate yourself. Join Teachers' Letters for Obama on facebook and check in regularly. Teachers are posting their hopes and dreams for a program that makes sense for children.
Yep. You've got a homework assignment.