Peter Goodman writes a savvy political blog in New York City called “Ed in the Apple.”

Happily, he attended the Network for Public Education annual conference in Chicago.

Like almost everyone else who was in Chicago, he loved the mingling of education activists from across the nation. 

He described the scene like this:

An invigorating and thoughtful weekend!

For me, meeting in-service and retired teachers, parents and activists from every nook and cranny across America makes me optimistic. From rural Tennessee, along the Mexico-Texas borders, across Florida, from Minneapolis, Michigan, to the urban centers, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, the amazing geographic diversity of public school activists. Special kudos to the parents, community activists, school board members and local legislators organizing around education issues and fighting the incredibly well-funded opponents of public education.

Too often we feel isolated; we fail to understand that we are an army spread across the nation.

Peter especially enjoyed Yong Zhao’s amazing and hilarious speech (which I will post soon), the dialogue between Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen, and my closing talk with Karen Lewis. In time, all of these will be posted here and online on the NPE website (some of the raw footage is there now).

Like me, Peter believes that we must build coalitions and alliances. We should never make the mistake of demanding 100% purity of our allies. Last year, at our first conference, I talked about the importance of a big tent. We in our Network have a positive agenda. We believe in improving public education so that it meets the needs of all children; we want a strong and rich curriculum in all schools; we want reduced class size; we want wraparound services; we want schools to be supported, not closed; we want equitable resources for all our schools, with additional resources for the children most in need; we want a strong teaching profession. I prefer to talk about what we are for, rather than be divided among ourselves. In unity, there is strength. United we stand, divided we fall.

As an added bonus, Peter adds to his post a link to songs of the Wobblies (the IWW). At dinner on Sunday night, Anthony Cody and I joked about a new slogan, “Teachers of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your rubrics.”