This week the Big Noise About NCLB kicks off in DC with a hearing on Wednesday, Jan 21 entitled "Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability." Heaven only knows who will be speaking at it-- the featured guest list will be one more set of tea leaves we can look at to see which way this new wind is blowing. But of course, we already know whose voices will not be prominently featured at the hearings.
So why we're all busy doing the actual work of educating America's children, a bunch of folks in DC will talk about how we ought to be doing that job.
However, that doesn't mean we can't put our voices out there.
Sen. Lamar Alexander has issued a press release that gives you all the tools you need. There's a link to the draft version of the legislation and an email address to send your comments to.
Send an email. Send an email. Send. An. Email.
You do not have to be brilliant or super-articulate. Just speak from the heart. Don't write Moby Dick in email form. Keep it brief (aka "readable") and if you have a lot more to say, send several emails. If you just have a sentence or two and can't figure out how to add to that, just send that. If you've read something that really said it for you, email a link to the piece and write "Read this. I believe it's true."
But whatever you do, don't sit silently hoping that Congress does the right thing. You can bet the farm that DC is swarming with lobbyists and "activists" who are making certain that their point of view is heard up close and personal. We know that the unions that are supposed to represent the teacher point of view are unlikely to do so.
It's on us. It's time to speak up. It's time to speak your truth. Will they hear us and listen to us? Who knows, But I do know this-- there is no possibility that they will hear us if we don't speak.
I am going to spend a little less time blogging this weekend and divert my torrent of words into emails to the committee. I implore you, beg you, to do the same.
Send an email.
This is the biggest opportunity we've had to be heard in the education debates since the federal government first stuck their nose in. We have no excuse not to use it, and shame on us if we don't.