professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Unexcused Absence

Dear NBC:

I will not be tuning in to any of your education summit shows. I did not watch any last year either. You see, you can call something a summit and declare you are part of the Education Nation, but in truth, you are part of the problem and not the solution. How can I make this statement when the programs have not even aired? All it took was one look at the panelists of "experts" you have assembled for this effort (

I count 5 governors, former governors, and mayors. There are almost 15 CEOs of various corporations here including some that are making $$$ already from the new standards Add in a handful of celebrities (and we do appreciate your support, really we do. But we would really appreciate you even more if you were in the classrooms and schools all the time, if you were speaking out more about the atrocities being committed on our kids). Mix in some administrators: superintendents, etc, and some university professors (and full disclosure: I am one), and one whole parent. Who is absent: classroom teachers. And herein lies the biggest flaw in calling this a summit or labeling what you are doing "Education Nation." You seem to have overlooked an essential ingredient here. Oh, I know, there will be something especially for teachers (a town hall). How nice of you (yes, the tone is sarcastic) to include teachers somewhere.

What type of journalistic integrity permits you to hold a summit and ignore the central role of the person in that classroom day in and day out? I wonder how the ONE parent was selected? I wonder why the preponderance of CEOs. Well, not really. I know they are there because the purpose of education is to make kids college and CAREER ready. Hence, CEOs and college profs and administrators.

Your press release boldly proclaims: "Fourth annual Summit to tackle what it takes for a student to be successful in the classroom and beyond." So, why not begin with the most logical answer to this and feature an honest discussion from the folks in the classrooms: teachers. I know what I will have to listen to if I were to tune in. There will be teacher bashing; there will be political posturing; there will be sermons from folks so far removed from K-12 classrooms that their statements should be discounted as absurd and out of touch. We will hear how business entities will make lives easier, how technology can do thing teachers cannot. We will be treated to a slick and glossy magazine piece that skirts over the surface instead of digging down to some of the root problems (unfunded mandates, faux research used to prove a political point, the de-funding of education at national, state, and local levels, and more).

So, I will not be in attendance. I will have a doctor's note to excuse me. I have high blood pressure and watching something like this proposed summit might just cause me to blow a gasket. Like the Lorax who speaks for the trees, I will spend that time speaking for the kids, the element that should be the focus of any education nation.

Tags: education nation
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