We Need To Hear The Voices Of The Students!

Yesterday there was a twitter chat --#SOSChat-- that I spent a little time checking out and participating in. It was a chance for those of us concerned with education reform and the damage it's doing to get together to figure out how best to move forward; what will SOS look like? What should we do next? Where should we focus? It's the kind of stuff a grassroots organization needs to do, and it was extremely helpful.

For a while now I have been doing Blog Talk Radio, both my own shows and as a guest on other shows (there's a link at the top of this blog) as a way to spread the word about the dangers of the current reform proposals and the nonsense Michelle Rhee spouts about LIFO and tenure, among other things. Doing the radio shows is fun and a great way to meet new folks and have meaningful discussions and disseminate information.

A while back I had the thought that it would be a good idea to include the voices of actual kids --students-- in the mix. I never really tried to do it. I talked with my 14 year old and some of his friends and I know they have opinions about reform, but they are 14 and getting them to commit was something I didn't even really try very hard to do, so it never happened. My bad.

Well, after the #SOSChat I realized that we anti-reformers are pretty much all over the place in terms of strategy ideas to spread the word. There are a million suggestions that I won't go over here. But there are two suggestions I have that occurred to me as I was participating in the chat:

1. Numbers. Numbers matter. Stephen Krashen made the point that Lady GaGa has 2 million followers and Diane Ravitch only in the thousands. I agree that's ridiculous, considering there are two million teachers in America. Want to impress? Get Diane's follower count up into the millions. Krashen's too.

I have a feeling there are about a million teachers who aren't on twitter. Find them. Get them on twitter, even if just to Follow Diane and then never tweet again.

2. The public think teachers suck--in the aggregate. People like their own teacher, think less of other teachers in the school, even less of others in the district, even less of others in the state, and even less of teachers nationally. It's just like congress where you like your congressperson but hate congress.

Therefore, I have determined, our voices are pretty much moot. They are not really that helpful. We need the voices of others--a proxy. Parents are a good proxy.

Kids are better. Interview kids.
So I want to interview public school students on Blog Talk Radio. I want teenagers to tell the public what they see their teachers dealing with. I want to hear what the teachers do for these kids, or what they don't do. I want kids to tell me what they like about school and what they think should change. I want to hear honest assessments of what life on the ground in public school is like for teenagers.

But that's not all. I want young kids too! Yes, like 2nd grade! When I taught 2nd grade I always had a few kids who could easily do their own radio show if given the chance. Surely there are some young kids who could handle a half-hour interview.

I will need parent input and permission. It can all be done over the phone and by email.

Are you interested in being interviewed? Are you a parent of a student who might be interested? Get in touch.

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