The Network for Public Education needs your help tomorrow!!!

As you know, The Network for Public Education’s first Conference culminated with a major announcement by the NPE Board about the board’s press release to call for formal Congressional hearings “to investigate the over-emphasis, misapplication, costs, and poor implementation of high-stakes standardized testing in the nation’s K-12 public schools.”

We can put public pressure on Congress by using technology – thanks, Bill Gates – to fight corporate reforms! The board at NPE decided to launch a Twitter Storm to reach the public and Congress.

Why NPE is doing this Twitter Storm:

We are taking our message to Twitter because while we lack access to paid media, we have thousands of passionate educators, students, parents and citizens across the country who care deeply about our schools, and are deeply concerned about the colossal waste of resources now being directed to standardized tests. We hope to raise awareness among the public, media and elected representatives around our call for Congressional hearings into the abuse of standardized tests.

Our first NPE Twitter Storm has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 from 5-7 pm PDST. Our NPE Twitter Storm Facebook Event has this information available and updates that you will want to follow:

Get ready for a giant NPE Twitter Storm on Wednesday | 3-19-14 | 5-7 pm PDST

Network for Public Education is demanding Congressional Hearings on Standardized TESTING abuse.

Join us on Twitter that evening and look for future events to include a phone campaign and letter writing campaign.

Please SEE NPE TOOL KIT here!

Grassroots Toolkit: Time for Congressional Hearings into the Abuse of Standardized Testing

But what is a Twitter Storm and how does one participate? I thought perhaps some of your readers will join in to create this public pressure on Congress.

First of all, you will need a Twitter account and some basic Twitter skills. A tutorial for Twitter basic skills can be found here. I did not create this one, but hopefully it will get you started.

Many people wonder, “What is a Twitter Storm?”

A Twitter Storm is an organized activist event that includes a large number of individuals working in unison to send out tweets at the same time for a sustained amount of time on the same topic in order to create a trending topic. Everyone joining the Twitter Storm uses the SAME hash tag. It is different from a chat which is more conversational, does not have the same goal of trending, nor is the pace as fast in a chat, typically.

What happens when a topic is trending? #NPEconference was a trending topic for the 2 days of the NPE conference, over and above the crisis in Kiev and above the major protest over the KXL pipeline protests in DC. As a result of this, others engaged in our conversation that may not have engaged and it led to several mainstream media opportunities in print, radio, and television formats.

Thus, by creating a trending topic, the chances of spreading the message to people who did not have awareness of the topic are much higher. In addition, the likelihood of mainstream press coverage increases dramatically for trending topics. In this case, our hope are – that with enough public pressure and news media coverage – we could hope to create enough public pressure that Congress would in fact begin to hold formal investigative hearings on standardized testing.

How does a hash tag work? The hash tag on Twitter can be thought of like a “file in a file drawer” that holds every tweet that anyone puts in that file. We will be sharing the hash tag with you all on Tuesday night! Watch for it, but please do not use it until the event begins on Wednesday at 5 pm PDST.

How do I participate in the Twitter Storm?

We will be sending out tweets very quickly with the hash tag about the topic of the call for Congress to hold formal hearings on standardized testing and the effects of standardized testing on all students – including people of color, special needs students, and ELL students – as well as teachers, schools, communities, , and democracy.

· Be prepared by looking at your search bar on Twitter and typing in the hash tag. You will see two choices: “Top Tweets” and “All” – choose “All”.

· Click on “All” and from there you can cut and paste other people’s tweets into your feed, which is more effective in trying to get a topic trending than simply retweeting.

· Trick to use the tweets multiple times: You can change a few characters or a word to be able to tweet these multiple times.

· Tweet through the entire two hours or until you are in “Twitter Jail” for sending out too many tweets. It helps to have multiple Twitter accounts so that you can continue tweeting once you are in Twitter Jail.

· Some people use Tweet Deck to be able to access multiple Twitter accounts at one time and this works great! Access here and practice prior to the Twitter Storm, but do not use our hash tag until the event, please.

· You can reply to others, but always include the hash tag and a message that is on topic in each and every tweet.

· Tweets that include the hash tag, memes, links, and videos must always comply with the 140 character limit.

· The Twitter Storm is very fast moving. Be ready with a fully charged phone, laptop, or PC.

· You may want to tweet to your US legislators. You can find them by entering your zip code here. (Remember to include the hash tag in every tweet.)

· Please target the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee via the following Twitter handles: @EdWorkforce and @EdWorkforceDems (Remember to include the hash tag in every tweet.)

· Please send tweets to media as well: @ChrisLHayes @EdShow @ValerieStrauss @Salon @Politico @HuffPostEd @DailyKos @DemocracyNow (Remember to include the hash tag in every tweet.)

What other tools can we use to improve our reach via social media?

One way that we can improve our reach through social media is through a site that is called Thunderclap.

What is a Thunderclap?

“Thunderclap is a tool that lets a message be heard when you and your friends say it together. Join a Thunderclap, and you and others will share the same message at the same time, spreading an idea through Facebook and Twitter that cannot be ignored.

If a tweet falls in the forest…

Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.

You don’t need a huge following for a successful Thunderclap.

A user with 200 Facebook friends could amplify her message better than someone with 3,000 friends. It all depends on your cause’s voice and shareability—and how much your friends are engaged. Thunderclap has already reached millions of people. Check out some of the successful projects on our homepage!

The tipping point

The beauty of Thunderclap is that it sets the goalposts: one message, one number, one date. It’s a common threshold you and your supporters work toward together. It’s a tangible way to measure awareness.” – from Thunderclap

Readers, please join our Thunderclap using this link:

In order for social media to work, you need to share this link on Twitter, on Facebook in groups you belong to, on pages you have liked, and on your wall to invite people to join us. You can also share it on other forms of social media such as Tumbler, Linkedin, etc.

We have also created a Facebook Event which you can join here to stay updated with the latest news about our Twitter Storm. Join the NPE Twitter Storm via our FB Event (to be held on Twitter on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 from 5-7 pm PDST) via the link above.

We will be following up the Twitter Campaign with more activism opportunities through a phone calling campaign and a letter writing campaign.

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up as a member of The Network for Public Education!

Thank you for joining our NPE Twitter Storm and please let me know if you have any questions! Follow us on Twitter: @NetworkPublicEd @DianeRavitch @AnthonyCody

Now, get ready! Join the FB event, sign up for the Thunderclap, and by all means join us on Twitter for this amazing opportunity to call on Congress to hold Congressional hearings to investigate standardized testing misuse!