I will be attending this year's Network for Public Education conference in Raleigh, NC.
It was not an easy call for me. Life has been a little crazy, and my multimillion dollar book deal has apparently been lost in the mail, and it just generally looked like a bad time to try to pull this off, and I had just sort of resigned myself to not being able to make it.
But at the same time, there were things and people well worth seeing, from Jennifer Berkshire talking to Peter Cunningham, to a panel with Mercedes Schneider, to an address by the founder of the Moral Mondays movement, to important conversations about race and community and building coalitions and effective activism and the value and support of public education. Plus, I know from attending last year's conference, the opportunity to talk to other people who get it, to meet and mingle with many people who have become my heroes over the interwebs.
It was that last part that finally convinced me. In the midst of the spring crush and some family adventures and all the rest, I knew I really needed some time with people who get it, who can actually see what's going on. That's what energized me about last year's conference, and what finally drew me back this year.
So my wife and I will make the ten hour drive down and back (because airfare is crazy expensive), which will burn a personal day that I may eventually wish I still had, but I will not be sorry that I used it for this.
I tell you all this not to impress you with the epic tale of my decision to attend, but to underline that this is how many of us come to these sorts of events, trying to somehow shoehorn them into our lives and personal resources. This is not how the other half lives; the reformsters have plenty of time and resources for this kind of thing because it is their actual job, not the thing they somehow squeeze in around the margins. Which is one more reason that those of us who care about public education need to keep finding ways to get our voices out there, and to gather together, network, talk, and draw strength and support and inspiration from each other.
Life is too short not to stand up for what you believe in, and it's too hard not to stand up with other people who share your beliefs. So I look forward to seeing the folks who can make it to Raleigh. If you see me (I'm doing a session on Saturday with Leonie Haimson), come up and say hi (though I will warn you that I am neither as dynamic nor as witty in person as this blog has led you to believe), and let's see what we all can learn and gather strength from at the convention.