The Network For Public Education (NPE) will be holding their first national conference March 1st and 2nd of this year. Since the keynote speaker spots were already taken, I was asked to take part on a student privacy panel with fellow student privacy activists Leonie Haimson, Narmak Nassirian, Rachael Strickland and Julie Woestehoff.

(Note: Teacher privacy is also a chief concern to us and is being addressed in legislation we expect to be introduced in legislatures across the United States this year.)

Stop by and see what you can do to help, or how you might start an initiative in your state.

This will be a who’s who of the pro-public education movement and I was lucky enough to snare a spot. If you would like to come hang with some of us and you happen to be in the Austin area (or can arrange to be in that area at this time) please stop by and say hello!

If you need a ride from the Baton Rouge area I will be renting a car and staying in a nearby fleabag hotel my wife found on Craigslist (what could go wrong?), but I still have some trunk space left for a stowaway or two. (Note: if the hotel doesn’t work out because of an axe-murderer or something you may need to drive the car back yourself so I don’t incur a late-fee. Getting a late fee on top of an axe-murdering would really suck.)

I will be releasing more information as it becomes available, but for now check out the information below (I know it’s dense but that’s why I gave it this intro) and visit this link:
for more detailed information on panels, panelists and updates.

Network for Public Education 2014 National Conference 

Robin Hiller | Executive Director | | (520) 668-4634


January 19, 2014

The Network for Public Education has announced a national gathering of public education activists. The organization’s first National Conference will take place at The Thompson Conference Center at the University of Texas at Austin on March 1& 2, 2014 – the Saturday and Sunday before SXSWedu. The conference will feature more than twenty panels and workshops, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities for education advocates from across the United States.

The NPE 2014 National Conference will feature a keynote address by education historian and best-selling author (and NPE President) Diane Ravitch. Chicago Teachers Union President, Karen Lewis and Texas school district Superintendent John Kuhn will deliver a joint conference address. A panel addressing the Common Core will feature American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten, blogger and education activist Anthony Cody, writer and researcher, Mercedes Schneider, teacher and blogger Jose Luis Vilson, Chicago teacher Paul Horton, and early-childhood education expert Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin.

The Network for Public Education was formed by Ravitch in 2013 and has become a prominent voice in the education reform debate. During the November 2013 elections, NPE rallied support for successful school board candidates in Bridgeport, CT, Seattle and Atlanta. The 2014 National Conference will be an opportunity for NPE to coordinate its network of education activists from across the United States in preparation for the 2014 elections.

“We are bringing together allies from around the country who really know what is happening on the ground in their own states and communities. One of our main goals in forming our network was to create a means to support candidates willing to defend public education,” said Anthony Cody, an NPE co-founder with Ravitch. “By gathering together, we hope to build real momentum, making 2014 the year we turn the tide in the fight for our schools.”

The NPE Conference will bring together leading activists in education from across the country and will feature some of the nation’s most dynamic school administrators, such as Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr, and New York’s Principal of the Year Carol Burris. Parent activists will include Leonie Haimson of New York, Karran Harper Royal from New Orleans and Helen Gym of Philadelphia. Teachers will be well represented, with panels that include Michelle Gunderson and Xian Barrett of Chicago, Kipp Dawson of Pittsburgh, and Phyllis Bush of Indiana. A panel on “Framing Our Message” will include Jeff Bryant, Sabrina Stevens and Bertis Downs.
Bob Schaeffer of FairTest will be joined by the leader of the Seattle MAP test boycott, Jesse Hagopian in discussing the movement to push back high stakes tests. Student activists will be well represented as well, with leaders from the Providence Student Union, and Stephanie Rivera and Hannah Nguyen, founders of Students United for Public Education. This year the movement to opt out of high stakes tests is picking up steam and United Opt Out co-founder Peggy Robertson will share UOO’s latest plans. Professors Sonya Horsford, Paul Thomas, and Julian Vasquez Heilig will discuss the latest research that sheds light on which reforms are truly working to serve our students, and Tim Slekar will discuss the role and future of teacher education. Investigative journalists Jason Stanford, Joanne Barkan and Mercedes Schneider will share ideas and tips from their work uncovering the truth about corporate education reform and destructive philanthropy. Veteran educators Deborah Meier and Mike Klonsky bring decades of experience as activists to panels on organizing resistance and building movements. University of Texas scholars Angela Valenzuela and Deb Palmer will discuss issues related to English Language Learners and high stakes testing. Recently elected school board candidate Sue Peters will be there to share lessons from her victory against well-financed corporate reformers in Seattle.

On her popular blog, NPE President, Diane Ravitch remarked on the importance of coming together for the purpose of strengthening our education system.

“Our movement demands a positive agenda for change based on love of learning, respect for educators, and dedication to the healthy development of children as good people,” Ravitch said. “We hope you will be there and join us as we review the status and condition of our movement to reclaim public education and decide what we should do to grow stronger in the future.”

For more information about the Network for Public Education 2014 National Conference, go to Registration is currently open and the website contains information about the speakers, panels, accommodations and travel.

2 thoughts on “National Public Education Conference in Austin, March 1st and 2nd (Guess who’s going?)

  1. Have fun! and if there is time, get yourself to Lockhart Tx, just a few miles maybe 45 or so, and eat some real Tx barbecue at Black’s. I’m telling you right this minute, it will be worth it!

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