Monday, March 14, 2011

Last Stand for Children Calls for an End to Rewarding More Experienced Education Reformers

You may have noticed that we have not been as active in this blog lately. I would like to apologize for that, but we have had a hard time promoting our reform group. The problem is innovative reformers such as ourselves are constantly finding ourselves cut out of the best paying and highest profile speaking gigs in favor of the usual suspects---Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Geoffrey Canada, Checker Finn, Stand for Children, GOOD, SMERSH, Students First, and DFER are well known and hence always have another speaking engagement or paycheck waiting.

The problem is groups like ours who are newer are more innovative. We aren't tied to the same failed policies of reform that haven't worked over the past 10 or 15 years. Don't get me wrong--we love these pioneering education reformers. Many of them stood behind Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers when it would have been politically expedient to turn their back on them.

The problem is for education reform to work, every media person needs to have a dynamic and persuasive education reformer to discuss schools with. Instead, the older reform groups are the first ones to be called and only later do newer groups like ours get contacted. With the crisis in American schools we can no longer simply defer to Michelle Rhee's experience--we must reach out to younger reformers who have more enthusiasm and better ideas.

We must not continue to reward education reformers based on their experience, but instead on their ideas---are they groundbreaking or to they simply retread old history. Everybody knows that teachers are best during their first two years before they get burned out and stop doing work---the same is true of education reformers and it's time for those who lack the innovation and passion to stand aside and let real reform come through.