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I’m going to a bloggers conference. My first. I am qualified because I write this blog. But maybe there’s something else that qualifies me. I write what matters to me. I represent 3.2 million educators in America’s public schools, colleges and universities. And when you represent people, you try to give voice to them.

But that’s not what I do in this blog.

In this blog, I am selfish. I don’t write what somebody tells me to write. I don’t write about something that someone voted on. I write about something that matters to me.

I feel justified because, after all, I’m one of those 3.2 million educators. I figure I was elected because somebody out there liked what I had to say and how I said it. So I’m going to a bloggers conference to meet other people who don’t let somebody tell them what to write or what to feel.

I’m excited to meet these people who don’t necessarily work for big organizations or who aren’t necessarily published in hardback. Like me, they are compelled to speak out about the world they see and the world they care about.

And maybe, like me, they are storytellers. I never lack for material. I look at the pictures of 20 years-worth of students hanging on my wall. I can tell you a story about each of them. I can tell you about Misael, my kindergartner at the Salt Lake Homeless Shelter whose father ran into the class one day and quickly told me the family was going on vacation and barked at Misael, “Vamos!”

Misael ran to me and hugged me adiós and we both knew there was no vacation but that a drug dealer had found the family.

I can tell you of the tears that fell from the eyes of a young mother who was devastated when she saw the B+ in Spelling on Jennifer’s report card. How she made an appointment with me to see if her daughter could please! please! please! do extra credit to bring it up to an A because it was Jennifer’s dream to get straight As all through school and here she had already failed at her dream in 5th grader. Please, please oh please!

These are stories that matter to me. They are stories that taught me something. So I write about them.

I see one of my children’s faces when I hear freakish ideas from politicians and CEOs about judging a teacher based a student’s standardized bubble-sheet test. I see a particular child’s face when I’m told that school “reform” means turning public schools over to private companies to run.

I see a particular child’s face when I hear a venture capital expert report on the new “education sector” smacking his lips and glowing green that with vouchers and charter schools we have the opportunity to turn public schools into the same thriving for-profit industry that the health care industry has become.

Big decisions by government has everything to do with particular little faces. The little faces I have kissed and loved over 20 years and more.

To share a little piece of these little lives in a small corner of the world that might read this matters to me. It matters to me that bloggers can say something that needs to be said without filters and publishers and permission. It matters to me that passionate people will agree. And will disagree. And will argue and want to know more and want to share more and want to learn more and want to think more.

I’ll let you know what I learn. You let me know what you think.


Education Caucus

Friday, July 23rd 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Caucus, Miranda 5
Netroots Nation

You're invited to speak up for education and kids! The nation's public school students need advocates both in and out of the classroom - that's where you come in. Join Daily Kos' Annie Em (Deborah Mayer), NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen (Lily's Blackboard) and representatives from other key voices in the education community, including AFT and ProgressNow.

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