In Fast Company, a magazine about “the future of business”, a writer wants us to know that TikTok “may be the future of education”.
She begins, as you might expect, by telling us why the current education system sucks.
In a recent post for the Class Struggle blog, the state superintendent of public instruction for Washington State has ten suggestions for a potential Biden/Harris1 administration “to undo the damage Betsy DeVos did to public education”.
He gets off to a great start with “Grant a national waiver of all federally mandated tests required under the Every Student Succeeds Act until Congress has an opportunity to amend the law.”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, as the realization sunk in that this was going to be a major disruption to normal life in this country, I’ve been reading articles, essays, and posts about how life will change when we come out the other side. Since many of the people I follow are educators, much of that speculation has been related to schooling in K12 and after graduation.
Returning to the topic of reporting on COVID-19, coverage in The Washington Post has been actually pretty good over the past eight months. Not perfect (leaning too much on the political angle), but certainly a whole lot better than the information provided by television.
One area in which they have fallen short is in writing about the impact of the pandemic on education. Their reporters jump all over a story when the conflict is pretty easy to explain, but rarely go deeper into how the crisis could affect kids, families, teachers, and the community.
Last week I ran into a former colleague in the supermarket and during the brief impromptu catchup, I mentioned that I would be spending the weekend in Philadelphia at EduCon. After reminding me that I was no longer working, she asked “Why are you going to an education conference?”.
I suppose it’s a valid question. I didn’t really have much of an answer at that point. That kind of encounter isn’t really designed for long-winded explanations. But blog posts are.
Ok, it’s quite true that I’m no longer employed by a school district, or being paid by any other organization. But that doesn’t mean I’m no longer an educator. At least I still think of myself in that way and I’m having a great time finding other ways to help people learn outside of the formal system. So, I was at EduCon to continue growing as an educator.
I was also in Philly to continue my personal learning. We talk a lot about “lifelong learning”, a concept we constantly try to sell to our students. Spending several days interacting with other educators at Science Leadership Academy is me putting that concept into action. Plus the city itself is a wonderful place to explore and learn from.
Finally, I return every year on a usually cold and windy January weekend for the community. EduCon is a unique event that attracts a relatively small, dynamic, diverse group of educators deeply interested in improving both their practice and American education in general. It’s refreshing to reconnect with that community for a few days of face-to-face conversations.
All of which means I already have the 2019 dates (January 25-27) locked on my calendar. Maybe you want to plan to join me?
Picture is of one packed EduCon session being streamed to the world.