I received this comment from one of the active members of SOS. I am glad she mentioned that Jonathan Kozol will be speaking at the SOS event, which takes place from August 3-5 in D.C.. Jon was riveting last year. And the great thing about hearing Jon is that he will make clear who is really leading “the civil rights movement of our time.”

Thank you, Diane, for taking the time to tell your readers about the Save Our Schools People’s Convention.

I will be attending the Save Our Schools People’s Convention in Washington, DC again this year.  One of the highlights last year was listening to you speak.  You will be sorely missed this year AND we can hardly wait to read your new book!

I also look forward to hearing Jonathan Kozol speak. I believe the issue of civil rights is at  the very core of education reform and Jonathan’s work will lead us to create a 21st century model that puts civil rights in the driver’s seat.  While corporate reformers tout their ideas as a means of achieving civil rights, the policies they have mandated have effectively segregated America’s schools to a point worse than the 1950’s.  This “savage” impact is what drives many of us who are battling corporate reform.

As a kindergarten teacher, I look forward to being part of the work that needs to be done in early childhood education with Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Deborah Meier.  The expectations of the corporate reformers curriculum is completely out of touch with child development.  These experts are champions for the whole child and their contributions to our conference will be key in the early childhood education platforms we will be creating.

Since last year’s conference, not a day goes by that I do not have contact with the many wonderful people across the country with whom I made connections with at the Save Our Schools March last year.

In fact, these connections have often put information I needed to inform others right at my fingertips, as I have resources now through people like yourself, Anthony Cody, Mike Klonsky, Dave Greene, Steve Krashen, Nancy Flanagan, Teacher Ken Bernstein, and Deborah Meier within minutes if I need them.  And I have needed all of these connections this year, believe me!

By making these connections at last year’s Save Our Schools Conference, these resources have helped me educate other stakeholders and provide evidence in my state that has made a huge difference in my ability to argue against corporate reforms.

More than anything, when I have been weary from this uphill battle, these connections have instantly stepped in to encourage me.  I have struggled, as many teachers have in deciding whether to continue working in this profession due to the oppressive nature of education reform on the children I work with daily.

These individuals  I met at Save Our Schools have taken the time out of their busy lives to make a phone call or send an encouraging word via email, Twitter, or Facebook that has lifted my spirits and help me lead others in this fight for equality.  I have all of you who came to Save Our Schools to thank for this support, for it would be very difficult to maintain this level of service without that encouragement.

For me, the speakers and workshops will be exciting.  The work on platforms will hopefully unify our vision to begin the work of taking back public education from the corporate reformers.  Many who dismiss us critique us for being “naysayers”.

Personally, I think we need both:  As you do on your blog, we need to be critical of education reform, working to show the public what does not work and why.

We also need to show the public, through compare and contrast: what works and what does not.

To do that, we need to come together to create our vision of what DOES work.  Once we come together as stakeholders to create that vision, that example, our real work can begin. Using example vs non-example will be the key to the public understanding what is at the heart of our mission.  After all, what do we do best?  Teach.

As educators, parents, and students —-  all stakeholders and the real OWNERS of this public good called PUBLIC schools have been shut out of the policy making, shut out of the curriculum [the standards] and shut out of the pedagogy [the art and science], as corporations have taken over our public schools.

Save Our Schools People’s Education Convention hopes to give the people a voice in creating a vision, to define what the real purpose for education is in America, and what a 21st century education would look like to support all stakeholders.

This is a great goal.  Whether we accomplish this entire goal at the convention remains to be seen.  What will be accomplished will be a start towards creating that vision.  I am excited to see the results.

I know those of us attending are ALL invited to be participants on Twitter’s LIVE #SOSchat on Tuesday, August 7th  at 9 pm EDT to report back to the public about our Save Our Schools People’s Education Convention.  I hope you can join us that night, Diane to hear about the event and discuss what we accomplished as a group.

Whether we accomplish the great goal of creating a vision and the first steps of how to achieve our vision remains to be seen, but I know one thing:

The national connections we make at the Save Our Schools convention will carry us through another year and years to come to continue the work that needs to be done to “Save Our Schools”; for the people who attend are able to communicate, build relationships that are lasting, inform each other of the effective ways those working to end corporate reform, encourage one another when the uphill battle is challenging, work together on brainstorming new strategies, and create actions that serve the people of America.

For me, this is the most important and most positive impact the convention will have.  We need ALL stakeholders at this convention.  I hope your readers will join us.