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Two Quick Thoughts on the SOS March

I wasn’t able to attend the Save Our Schools rally in DC last Saturday, and I had nothing to do with planning it, so I don’t have much credibility to criticize. But, after reading some of the news coverage and commentary, I do have a couple of observations to add to the stream.

One has to do with Matt Damon’s five minute speech linked to in many of the reports. Great talk. He said many of the things about teachers and public education that the audience wanted to hear.  However, many educators (myself included) have been very critical of the celebrities advocating on behalf of Race to the Top, charter schools, vouchers, and other “reform” efforts.

Having a high profile actor with news cameras in tow speak to the issues is nice but it’s not a good idea to have celebrities become spokespeople for the push back against all the crap being inflicted on public education and educators these days. The effort needs a wide variety of authentic voices, especially parents and kids.

Then there’s the matter of what happens now? What is done with the attention (how ever large or small) that came from having a few thousand teachers and some high profile speakers marching in front of the White House on a hot summer afternoon?

The leaders of the Save Our Schools event (and I’m not especially fond of the SOS connotation…) are considering what happens next but I’m afraid that altering the path that the school “reform” movement is currently on will take much more than some Washington marches and intelligent speeches, not to mention a far larger body of participants than just teachers.

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2 Comments

  1. I disagree with the idea that a celebrity can’t be a useful spokesperson. The general public is becoming deeply distrustful of teachers, but everyone loves Matt Damon. We need support from all quarters to be successful and celebrities already have a face that people trust, whereas most educators are nobodies in their minds.

    It is the minds of the public we must win, not the minds of the reformers driving the current enmity towards public education.

  2. Dave

    I heard literally zero about the march before it happened, and all I’ve heard since is what I’ve read in education blogs. Was there any news coverage? Then I read this and see that the Matt Damon speech that circled online was from the march…

    Celebrity or no, I think the reality is that no one really even knows this march happened.

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