New Advice from Diverse Perspectives

September 17, 2008

We’re kicking off our campaign with diverse points of view from four people who are working hard to change U.S. education. Listen to what they have to say and then submit your own advice.

Bob Compton is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur whose documentary film, 2 Million Minutes, takes a look at how six high school students from United States, China and India spend their high school years (two million minutes in total).  We talked with Compton at the Republican National Convention, where he was screening his film.


Deborah Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education. A MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius,” she founded Central Park East Elementary school and, later, Central Park East Secondary School.  Deborah Meier is currently on the faculty of NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education as senior scholar and adjunct professor.


John Wilson, a former special education teacher, is Executive Director of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union.  We talked with him at the Republican National Convention.


Barbara O’Brien is the Lt. Governor of Colorado and co-chair of the P-20 Education Council, a state-wide education reform effort.  We caught up with O’Brien at the Democratic National Convention.



Three New Pieces of Advice

September 9, 2008

We’ve been working nonstop to put together the great advice we’ve been getting from educators, policy makers, teachers and perhaps from you!  Listen to three new pieces . . .

Margaret Spellings is a name you recognize. She’s the current Secretary of Education and was previously Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy to President Bush. We caught up with her at the Republican National Convention.


Amy Wilkins is a principal partner at The Education Trust, a DC-based, independent nonprofit organization devoted to reform in K-12 education. We talked with her at the Democratic National Convention.


Ben Jackson is an English teacher at Bruce Randolph School in Denver, Colorado.  We caught up with him at the Democratic National Convention.


Stay tuned for upcoming podcasts featuring Newt Gingrich, Mayor Cory Booker, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Deborah Meier, Bob Compton, the producer of Two Million Minutes, and more.

LATimes Op-Ed offers advice for President

September 4, 2008

Recent LATimes op-ed by Cory Booker, John Doerr and Ted Mitchell offers up some good education advice for the next President.  The authors call for innovation when trying to solve the problem of America’s failing educational system:

As our next president confronts this reality, he should look to Herty’s inspiration. We need a new, results-driven mind-set at the Department of Education that will drive pure educational innovation and “scale up” proven experiments and novel ideas that work. The federal government stands in a unique position to meet these needs.

Cory Booker will be featured in one of our upcoming podcasts, so stay tuned for that!  And be sure to check out the article in the meantime.

At the Republican National Convention

September 2, 2008

It was a busy week of interviews, major news and travel.  Our Podcast Producer, Selly Thiam, attended the RNC asking people for their education advice.  She’s interviewing dozens of folks for the new series which will offer a lot of advice for the next President.

Continue to follow the coverage and stay tuned for the series launch.

Have education advice for the next President?

August 29, 2008

The election is coming up. What would you like to see the next President–Obama or McCain–do about public education? Suppose he, or somone close to him, asked you for your advice? What would you say?

Well, here’s the next best thing: WE want your advice. Post it and we may call you and ask you to record it for one of our podcasts in the series.

We can’t guarantee that the candidates are listening, but we do know that about 20,000 education junkies (like you!) are. Post your advice today!

At the Democratic National Convention

August 26, 2008

On the eve of the DNC, dozens of the nation’s top education reformers got together to take part in “Ed Challenge for Change,” an event sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform and 40 other groups interested in reforming public education.

In front of an enthusiastic audience of about 500 delegates and others, Learning Matters President John Merrow moderated a panel with Mayors Adrian Fenty and Cory Booker of DC and Newark, respectively; NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein; former LA Superintendent Roy Romer, and the President of the Colorado Senate. It was lively, to put it mildly. (Some have even called it inspirational!)

After listening to panelists bemoan the obstacles to change, he asked them to name names. “Exactly who is standing in the way?” “Who benefits from mediocre schools?” That led to some union-bashing, but finally the list expanded to include school boards and other special interests.

Panelists also shared their education advice for the next President. And after the panel, John went around, tape recorder in hand, and asked that same question of a dozen or so thoughtful men and women. We’ll be doing that at the Republican convention as well, and the answers will form the basis for this new series of podcasts.