Thoughts, links & ideas from the 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Each time I've taken off in a plane since May (which is a lot), I've been writing in my journal, then adding these journal entries on this blog.

Check in often, or subscribe to get headlines fed to you! Oh, and the views expressed here are not those of anyone but me.  And anyone who happens to share the same views, I guess.

(Note: the blue posted dates are actually the dates I wrote the journal entries, not when I posted them online.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Washington, DC


Addressed the Chiefs today in DC.  Not the team, but the heads of all the states’ departments of education.  (Some are “Superintendents,” some are “Secretaries of Education,” and so on, so they’re just collectively called “The Chiefs.”  That’s pretty cool.)  They were in town for a legislative conference, and I was asked to share with them a teacher's perspective.


I didn’t pull any punches.


But they seemed to enjoy the beating, for the most part.  I guess I have a fun way of tearing apart the status quo, which many of them are heavily invested in.


I made an impassioned case for redefining “achievement” to encompass what we know about the complex and varied nature of intelligence.  Measuring math and reading scores alone doesn’t do justice to our children or the complex and global world they are growing into and creating.


I told them what teachers across the country would want to tell them: we’re living in a climate of fear, and fear inhibits innovation, great teaching, and effective learning.  Something needs to change, and we are now standing at that pivotal crossroads.


“So what are you going to do about it?” I asked on behalf of the 50 million students and 3 million teachers that are seeing these policies played out at the ground level in their very lives.


Bold move?  Perhaps.  But the Chiefs seemed to take it well.  The delivery is nearly as important as the message, I’ve found.


Plus, now I’m on a plane out of the country.  That helps, too.



1 comment:

  1. Proud of you, brother. Keep it up! And watch out while you're in transit- I think parts of the rendition program are still in effect.


Feel free to question, disagree, challenge, or make suggestions! I'm a big boy. I can take it.