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An Open Letter to NBC News and Brian Williams | Ecology of Education

An Open Letter to NBC News and Brian Williams

Dear NBC News and Brian Williams:

I see NBC News is providing a broadcast forum called “Education Nation.” NBC is billing it as: “Education Nation is a nationally broadcast, in-depth conversation about improving education in America.” As I look over the list of, “confirmed participating speakers” I see finance people, mayors, various other politicians, news people like yourself, business people, union representatives, current and former US Education Secretaries (none of whom were teachers), sponsors that paid money to get a seat at the table, and other “experts.” What I am not seeing represented in this “In depth conversation,” are teachers and students and parents.

I know, I know. You are having a “Teacher Townhall” where teachers can apply and might be chosen if their “…one major change that you think could help to transform education in America,” happens to be chosen. Mr. Williams, can we see the application the “experts” had to fill out to get their much more prominent voice? What questions did they have to answer to “get” to be part of the conversation? Why isn’t there a teacher, and student, and parent group that will have more than one question or opinion or voice “if” they are lucky enough to be chosen?

Do you see any irony in the fact that none of the “experts” (speakers) are teachers, students or parents? (Much less many of them?) Could that be part of the problem in American education that “sponsors”, corporations, news people, administrators and others have a prominent voice in education, but all the REAL stakeholders are, “thrown a bone” so that they can participate if they are lucky to be chosen based on their “application” so they can talk during a show at noon on Sunday during football and baseball playoff season? Gee thanks.

And understand that teachers, parents and students actually have differing and well thought out positions on what education could and should be, so to just have a few representatives from each of those stakeholders isn’t good enough. If this is really meant to be an “… in-depth conversation about improving education in America,” give real voice to those that should be MOST prominent in this discussion. Otherwise frankly, it is of little real value. Mainly only those that always have voice because of their wealth and connections will be major parts of this important conversation.

I would be happy to provide you names and contact information of quality participants for your discussion.

Thank you,

Brian Crosby, Teacher

(This post was originally published on the author’s site, Learning Is Messy.)

Image: Remote Access

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Author:Brian Crosby

Brian Crosby, an upper elementary teacher for 29 years, guides the learning in a model technology classroom in Sparks, Nevada. Coming from a background in outdoor education and educational technology, Brian fuses his “at risk” students use of technology with field trips, art, hands-on activities and a problem-based approach, to build their schema of the world while at once connecting them to it.
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention An Open Letter to NBC News and Brian Williams  | Ecology of Education -- Topsy.com

  • http://twitter.com/jasonflom/status/24497080785 Jason Flom

    To: NBC & Brian Williams, an open letter from a teacher, @bcrosby, to you. http://bit.ly/avJBzn #edreform #edchat #edsummit

  • http://twitter.com/ellsbeth/status/24499547497 Liz Becker

    RT @JasonFlom: To: NBC & Brian Williams, an open letter from a teacher, @bcrosby, to you. http://bit.ly/avJBzn

  • http://twitter.com/drgarcia/status/24503123656 GNA Garcia

    RT @JasonFlom: To: NBC & Brian Williams, an open letter from a teacher, @bcrosby, to you. http://bit.ly/avJBzn #edreform #edchat #edsummit

  • http://twitter.com/jasonflom/status/24503237902 Jason Flom

    @dianeravitch You might appreciate this Open Letter to NBC & Brian Williams from a teacher (@bcrosby) http://bit.ly/avJBzn

  • http://www.teacherslead.com Nancy Flanagan

    Thank you, Brian. May this post turn into a groundswell…

  • Pingback: The absence of teachers… - The Karuna Journals

  • http://twitter.com/jasonflom/status/24585220117 Jason Flom

    @educationnation Yes, @tgwynn & I have seen that. Submitted my proposal. Hope u read @bcrosby's open letter to u. http://bit.ly/avJBzn Thx!

  • David Roknich

    The “manipulated town hall” has become quite an art form in the past several years. Doesn’t it seem the point for the usual suspects to first lay down the foundation of how they want things done, to directly serve their purposes, and they allow the community to feel free to fill in the details? In my town this was done locally, and the community input was supposed to be compiled and distributed. That phase never happened.

    Your critique might be a general one of how the “Town Hall” format is currently being used for brainwash by the established authority. Here you hit the nail squarely on the head:
    “…give real voice to those that should be MOST prominent in this discussion. Otherwise frankly, it is of little real value. Mainly only those that always have voice because of their wealth and connections will be major parts of this important conversation.”

    It will be interesting to see what kind of response you get from NBC.

    Thanks for the effort.

    David Roknich
    Galesburg, Illinois

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LZTGMQ4KLXG2YM3SQNQJEK2JCI Winged Spirit

      Hi – wish I could edit my comment. It’s missing a word that makes one sentence incoherent. Here’s the correction: “Doesn’t it seem (that) the point (is) for the usual suspects to first lay down the foundation of how they want things done, to directly serve their purposes, and then allow the community to fill in the details?”

  • Valerie Pientka

    Awesome. Simply awesome. This NBC mess, on top of the Oprah blow-off, on top of the Time magazine article……come on!!!! Where the !@#$ are the unions????

  • Gewalters10

    Subject: School solutions/education made fair and simple
    I saw Bennet on tv  discussing Duncan’s proposals. I have always believe from my own experience 55-60 years ago that it all about the halves and halve not. will explain below. I also believe that vouchers are the wrong approach  because they average around 5,000 dollars per year and about the cheapest private(Catholic) school is  around 8,500 dollars. A good private school average is  more like 15,000 thousand dollars. So how  does the low income-low medium income parent get the difference. The  only people that vouchers will  help  are the upper middle class who  already have their child in a  private school  and vouchers will help them with  part of their  tuition.                                                                                               Subject:SCHOOL UNIFORMS FROM K TO 12 WILL SOLVE MANY IF NOT MOST OF TODAY’S SCHOOL PROBLEMS[SELF ESTEEM,GANG COLORS PROBLEMS,PARENTS POCKET BOOK, MORE SCHOOL PRIDE, CONCENTRATION ON LEARNING NOT FASHION AND PEER PRESSURE. TREAT ALL SCHOOL LIKE THEY WERE A CHARTER SCHOOL OF A PRIVATE SCHOOL[REF; DRESS AND DISCIPLINE]Subject: SCHOOL UNIFORMS FROM K TO 12 WILL SOLVE MANY IF NOT MOST OF TODAY’S PROBLEMS. THE ONE THING SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS HAVE IN COMMON, OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL AS CHARTER SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS ARE SCHOOL UNIFORMS.

    I BELIEVE EVERYONE IS MISSING THE POINT ON EDUCATION. MOST WARS ARE ABOUT THE HALVES AND HAVE NOTS. EDUCATION IS MUCH THE SAME. POOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS DO WORSE THAN MORE AFFLUENT DISTRICTS. THEY ATTRACT THE BEST TEACHERS, HAVE THE BEST SURROUNDINGS ETC, I AM 73 YEARS OLD AND GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1955. MY FAMILY WAS VERY POOR AND THERE WEREN’T ANY TITLE MONEY FLOATING AROUND. HAVING TO PUT FRESH CARDBOARD IN MY SHOES EVERY MORE TO COVER THE HOLES IN MY SHOES WAS THE NORM. CLOTHS WERE USED SOMETIME WELL USED. I WORKED IN THE CAFETERIA THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL FOR MY LUNCH. YOU CAN HIDE HUNGER, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE YOUR APPEARANCE WHICH IS MUCH MORE COMPETITIVE TODAY THAN 50+ YEARS AGO. MANY FAMILIES DO WITHOUT SO THEIR CHILD CAN HAVE EXPENSIVE TENNIS SHOES OR AN EXPENSIVE PURSE OR DESIGNER JEANS ETC. MANY MAKE DO WITH WHAT EVER THEY HAVE.  I CAN’T REMEMBER A DAY IN WHICH I WASN’T EMBARRASSED WITH MY CLOTHS. NEVER HAD BREAKFAST AND WASN’T MUCH AFTER I GOT HOME. WORKING FOR MY LUNCH WAS A GOD SEND. ALL THE TITLE MONIES AVAILABLE HAS HELPED THE LOW INCOME FAMILIES CHILDREN FAKE IT PRETTY WELL AT SCHOOL BUT THERE STILL IS THE CLOTHING ISSUE. SOME SCHOOLS YOU CAN’T WEAR CERTAIN COLORS BECAUSE OF GANGS CLAIM A CERTAIN COLOR. KIDS CLOTHS ARE STOLEN AS WELL AS SHOES.     AROUND THE WORLD AND IN MANY PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THE U.S., KIDS WEAR UNIFORMS AND SEEM TO DO MUCH BETTER IN SCHOOL, BETTER DISCIPLINED KIDS IN THE CLASS ROOM ETC. THEY CAN BETTER CONCENTRATE ON LEARNING BECAUSE THEY HAVE BETTER ESTEEM ABOUT THEMSELVES AND NOT HAVING TO COMPLETE. I REMEMBER OVERHEARING A KID TEASING ANOTHER THAT HE HAD LAST YEARS SHIRT ON. UNIFORMS WOULD TAKE THE BURDEN OFF THE PARENTS FROM HAVING TO BUY DESIGNER CLOTHS ETC. SO THEIR CHILD MIGHT ESCAPE SOME TYPE OF EMBARRASSMENT. FROM THE WAY THEY DRESS. SELF ESTEEM IS EVERYTHING AT THE SCHOOL  AGE. MANDATORY SCHOOL UNIFORMS FOR ALL STUDENTS K-12 WOULD SOLVE 75% OF THE
    LEARNING AND DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS IN THE U.S. PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AND IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO IMPLEMENT. I KNOW ITS BEEN TALKED ABOUT FOR YEARS BUT NOTHING IS EVER DONE. THE GOVERNMENT COULD SUBSIDIZE SOME LOW INCOME PARENTS IF THAT IS A PROBLEM, BUT I WOULD THINK IT WOULD SAVE ALL PARENTS MONEY IN THE LONG RUN ESPECIALLY LOW INCOME PARENTS. I WOULD HOPE YOU WOULD TAKE A LOOK AT THIS SUGGESTION. I CAN TELL YOU FROM EXPERIENCE THAT UNIFORMS ARE THE ANSWER TO MUCH OF  THE SCHOOLS PROBLEMS. IT DON’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IF YOU ARE IN THE MOST MODERN CLASS ROOM IN THE WORLD OR IN ONE WHERE THE PAINT IS FALLING OF THE CEILINGS. IF YOU ARE SITTING THERE THINKING ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE AND NOT THE TEACHER AND THE LESSONS, THE DECO RE DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE. HOPE YOU WILL GIVE THIS LETTER A LOT OF THOUGHT.                                 GLEN WALTERS

    Subject: Response from U.S. Department of Education
    Mr. Glen WaltersVia email: gewalters10@yahoo.com 
    Dear Mr. Walters:
     
    Thank you for your letter to Secretary Arne Duncan sharing your thoughts on school uniforms in schools.  Your letter was referred to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education for review and I am pleased to respond.
     
    As you may know, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) does not have the authority to determine state or local education policies or practices, unless these matters are specifically required in federal education statutes.  Indeed, because education is primarily the responsibility of the State and local governments, the Department is specifically prohibited by law from exercising any direction, supervision, or control over such matters as curriculum, the teaching of particular subjects, and graduation requirements, local administration and personnel issues, and allocation of State or local resources.  If you have not done so already, you may wish to share your thoughts with your State Department of Education.
     
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I am sorry we cannot be of further assistance.
     
    Sincerely,
     
     
    Hope Huynh
    Education Program Specialist
    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
    U.S. Department of