Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My, how you've grown!

As I have wandered the internet these past few years trying to place what we are doing in context within the world of American education, I have been amazed by the number of people and organizations I had never come in contact with who turn out to be fellow travelers. Some are individuals writing blogs, some are part of long established organizations. In some cases I find myself in total agreement with the views they express. Other times I am teasing out the thread of agreement from a complex web whose other threads don't match up so well with my thinking. Several organizations have come and gone while I perused the ether. Some (perhaps problematically more than one) are attempting to be THE umbrella group. I'm beginning to recognize familiar names cropping up as contributors to more than one organization. I find new voices every day: there is no way I can keep up with all of this, and that may be a good thing!

Some have become touchstones: Betsy L Angert of Empathy and Education combs the internet too, and often sends me articles of interest, as well as being a passionate supporter of our work, always looking for ways to bring the film and its ideas to audiences in Florida and elsewhere. Monty Neill's work at Fairtest is so important, leading me to articles I might not find on my own, validating what I sense to be true with the work of scholars and investigators. Rick Posner tickled me from our first phone conversation, mixing Yiddish aphorisms with serious conversation about how to measure the ways that unconventional schools make a difference. I admire Deb Meier tremendously, and read her and Diane Ravitch's Bridging The Differences and also John Merrow's Learning Matters for word-smithed musings that come to some different conclusions, but often enlighten. We met Mark Phillips "in real life" at the very beginning of this project, and interact on-line and off. I could name over a dozen wonderful people I have met because of the Featherstones, who continue to cheer us on.

You see what I mean?

I found Anthony Cody when he started Teacher's Letters to Obama and followed him to SOS March and National Call to Action. It is the closest thing to a really big umbrella group that I have found. The past two months we have worked together with Anthony on a series of spots for the gathering in Washington DC that this group of people (with demanding day jobs!) is attempting to organize on a shoe string budget. Anthony is a clear thinker and a pleasure to know and work with. Three of the spots are now out, and in the process of getting them to a bigger audience I have found many many more groups representing parents, counselors, teachers, educators, all wanting meaningful education for our country's children, and convinced that we can't simply test our way there.

And yes, our work is finding its place in this bigger and bigger movement.

Here are the links to the first three spots: Here's to the Teachers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8zkjH8pGNk
Here's to the Students:
and Here's to the Parents:

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