Tag Archives: students first

Your Education Stories (for a price)

It’s suddenly in vogue to gather and tell stories as part of an organization’s larger strategy to build an audience and effect change. On one level, I love this development — indeed, I’ve been gathering people’s stories about their most powerful learning experiences for years, which has resulted in a website, a radio story series, and even a book (proceeds of which do not go to me, by the way).

Yesterday, however, I received an email from Michelle Rhee’s organization, Students First, relating to an effort underway there to gather people’s stories about why they choose to put students first.

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Categories: Learning, Organizational Change

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Education Inception

I just watched Christopher Nolan’s remarkable new movie Inception, a futuristic film about a group of people who, through a variety of means, plant a thought so deeply in the mind of one man that it grows naturally and becomes seen as his own. In the opening scene of the movie, protagonist Peter Cobb rhetorically asks the audience: “What’s the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? No. An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea’s taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. A person can cover it up, or ignore it – but it stays there.”

Cobb’s movie-based challenge is not unlike the reality-based one being faced by today’s advocates for public education reform – how to seed an idea so simple and powerful that it can mobilize public opinion, inspire policymakers, and improve the overall learning conditions for children. And yet after reading Michelle Rhee’s two newest efforts to launch her own form of “inception” – an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal and her organization’s inaugural policy agenda – I see further evidence of both her well-intentioned vision for massive educational reform, and her fundamental misunderstanding about the power of ideas.

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

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Is Michelle Rhee putting Students First?

Like everyone else who does education for a living, I read that Michelle Rhee is launching a new national advocacy organization, Students First. And after checking out the site and hearing how she articulates its purpose, I see some reasons to feel hopeful — and many more reasons to feel deeply concerned. First, the good […]

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