Next stop, Atlanta!

Looks like I’ve hit the big time (or at least the southern regional time) guys! I was invited to speak on a plenary panel, along with some pretty heavy hitters, at a Southern Regional Conference in Atlanta this coming weekend. I’ve been working on my intro speech and rallying cry for the past couple of weeks. My hope is to not make a complete fool of myself so I’ve been harassing friends and family with my drafts, and practicing (something I almost never do for anything), on my intro. My 4 and 6 year old are not as attentive as I’d like, but my son told me he’ll listen as long as I need him to, so long as I’m giving him a piggy back ride while doing it. (I hope that doesn’t lead to any same state learning issues or I may have to make a very awkward request of the most diminutive attendee I can find.) I’m gonna try and nail it without cards or notes. I usually speak without them, but I also usually ramble and take about 3 times longer than I should and confuse people when I’m done, so preparing something ahead of time that is succinct and rehearsed will be something new for me! The only thing I have going for me is that I passionately believe in what I’m going to say, (and my flight will take around 4 or 5 hours with all my bizarre connections) so I think I have a decent shot of pulling this off.

Send your prayers and feelings of goodwill my way. Believe it or not, I’m sometimes a little shy and self-conscious in person, but when I read your comments or private e-mails they really do lift me up, make me feel more confident, and sometimes I believe I can do anything – so long as I lead with my heart. (I guess that’s a cliché for a reason?)  It really helps that I’m fighting for others – for something greater than me.  In case you were wondering I’ve given really long presentation in the past. . . but it’s pretty hard to talk passionately and interestingly about data element types, field lengths, and cross edits, but I managed to do that for years, so this should be a nice change – and with fewer sleeping audience members I hope.

For those of you interested, here are the details on this conference. ( As you will see, I have a busy weekend ahead of me. )

Obviously I’ve highlighted the most important meeting of the conference. J

All my co-panelists are on Wikipedia, so if any of you are Wikipedia writers. . . well I think you know what to do before this weekend. J

I’ve tentatively highlighted or colored in green font everything I plan to attend from my cozy office chair. I think I can attend everything but Community Organizing Strategies. If I find anyone looking to talk about some local collaborating I may have to skip something because it looks like a pretty full schedule.


Regional Convening to Stop the Privatizing Movement in the South

All sessions are in Chattahoochee Salon unless otherwise indicated

Friday, September 20

5:00 – 8:00 PM Registration

7:00 – 8:00 PM Opening Reception (Grand Salon D)

Saturday, September 21

7:00 – 8:30 AM Breakfast (Grand Promenade)

8:30 – 9:00 AM Skype Session – Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, NYU

9:00 – 10:15 AM Welcome

Kent McGuire, President and CEO, Southern Education Foundation

Katrina Gamble, Civic Engagement and Political Director, Leadership Center for the Common Good

The South: Ground Zero for Privatizing Public Education

Earl Wiman, Executive Committee Member, National Education Association

Steve Suitts, Vice President, Southern Education Foundation

10:30 – 12:30 PM State Reports: Where We Stand, Challenges, and Goals for the Future

Participating states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, and Virginia

12:30 – 1:45 PM Lunch

Mike Leachman, Director of State Fiscal Research, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Eric Zachary, Director, AFT Human Rights and Community Relations Department

2:00 – 3:30 PM Legislative Strategies

Nancy Loome, Executive Director, The Parents’ Campaign (MS)

Kathleen Oropeza, Co-Founder, Fund Education Now (FL) Brittny Saunders, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Popular Democracy

Moderator: Taimarie Adams, Education Policy Specialist,

Progressive States Network

3:30 – 4:00 PM Break

4:00 – 5:30 PM Messaging Issues and Strategies

Leslie Winner, Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Hank Klibanoff, Cox Professor of Journalism, Emory University

Jason France, Education Blogger, Crazy Crawfish

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director, Fair Test

Moderator: Ramona Oliver, Senior Director,

NEA’s Center for Communications

5:45 – 6:45 PM Breakout Sessions (Choose one)

Community Organizing Strategies

Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education

Kenton Cooper, Organizational Specialist, National Education Association Karey Harwood, Executive Director, Public Schools First NC

Moderator: Pat McCoy, Executive Director, Action NC

Litigation and Research Strategies

Julian Vasquez Heilig, Professor of Education Policy and Planning, University of Texas at Austin

Les Landon, Public Relations Director, Louisiana Federation of Teachers Jerri Katzerman, Deputy Legal Director, Children at Risk Program

of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Moderator: Katherine Dunn, Program Officer,

Southern Education Foundation

6:45 – 7:30 PM Reception

7:30 – 9:00 PM Dinner and Speaker

Warren Simmons, Executive Director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University

Sunday, September 22

7:00 – 8:30 AM Breakfast and Checkout (Grand Promenade)

8:30 – 9:30 AM Coalition Building Strategies

Hon. Joyce Elliott, Arkansas State Senator

Ed Martin, Director of Public Affairs, Texas State Teachers Association

Matt Jones, Co-Founder, EmpowerEd Georgia

Moderator: Kent McGuire, President and CEO, Southern Education Foundation

9:30 – 11:15 AM Regional Discussions: Sharing of Ideas and Strategies Along State Lines

11:15 – 11:45 AM Closing Session

Evie Frankl, Education Organizing Director, Leadership Center for the Common Good

Steve Suitts, Vice President, Southern Education Foundation

11:45 – 12:30 PM Keynote – Rev. William Barber II, President, NC NAACP

12:30 – 2:00 PM Lunch (Grand Promenade)

Wish me luck!

9 thoughts on “Preserving Public Education

  1. You go, Crazy!!!! Before long he won’t even speak to us peons anymore! And I am sure your previous presentations were riveting! Your audience just did not give you the appreciation you deserved! Like Debbie, hope we get to see video soon.

  2. You’ll be great! Your message and passion for what you are doing will help overcome any shyness. And, on behalf of all of us who can’t publicly speak out against all of this, THANK YOU for being willing to take that message to Atlanta.

    1. I am a bizarre combination of shyness and, like, the opposite of that. I suppose it depends on my mood. I am willing to take this message anywhere, especially Hawaii, the Cayman Islands, an Alaskan cruise, Mars (if a boy band member isn’t taking up the last amateur spot) you know, anywhere cool. Martians need good schools too. Right now I didn’t sleep well, so my mood is a little weird. 🙂

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