Today's the 8th birthday for this blog. Post #4114. It took a while to figure things out (please do NOT go back and read the posts from my first few weeks), but it has served as a handy way to scratch my writing itch.
The best kinds of responses from readers have fallen into several categories.
"Thanks for putting this into words, because I knew this but couldn't really find a great way to say it."
"Thanks for writing this. I was afraid I was the only person who had noticed this."
"I had no idea this was going on other places, too."
"Can I share this?"
Also, the occasional "Would you like to write something for us for money" is okay, too.
Some things have certainly changed in the world of education policy since 2013. Various genius ideas for Fixing Everything have come and gone. Some privatizers have pretty much shed their camouflage. Some folks have switched sides depending on prevailing winds and the true source of their stance.
My sense is that the blogosphere is not quite as lively as it once was, for both readers and writers. That's okay. Media--especially social media--shift and change regularly. Substack is the hot new blogging, even as it rests on the positively antique medium of e-mail. I'm not trying to make money here--just trying to say what I have to say, both here and at Forbes.com and The Progressive.
I believe in public education in this country as the best of all possible systems, even as it struggles eternally with its various weaknesses and issues. Public education exists at the intersection of every major issue in our society as a whole; consequently it is destined to be noisy, messy, and always trying to negotiate hard pulls from many directions. That comes layered on top of the universal belief that "since I went to school, I know all about what should be done to it."
So there will always be a large mob of disparate voices holding forth on Education and How To Do It. I don't believe that all of those voices deserve equal consideration (teachers generally know more about education than economists and hedge fund managers), and some voices certainly deserve to be called out for peddling nonsense, but a loud number of voices will always be the norm. That's okay.
I owe thanks to a too-long-to-include list of people who have helped me, inspired me, amplified me, and introduced me to others. It has reinforced my belief that one of our most basic purposes in life is to lift each other up, and I am grateful to everyone who has, in large ways and small, lifted me.
I'm grateful to have the chance and the resources to do this, grateful for an outlet for my writing itch, grateful for the audience and the platform. Thank you for reading. Now I'll get back to it.