Highlights from the 2015 Network for Public Education Conference

January 2, 2015 – Somehow I neglected to click “publish” on this post.  I’m publishing it now – some 8 months after the conference because I believe the information in it is still relevant and of deep value.  — Cynthia Eagleton

Hit the link to see the post.




Some highlights from the 2015 Network for Public Education Conference:

1.  Opening speeches by Tanaisa Brown and Jitu Brown (no relation).  Jitu Brown is National Director of Journey for Justice & NPE Board member.  Tanaisa Brown is the Secretary of Newark Student Union.  Both these speeches place what is happening in Public Ed inside the large larger cultural and political framework.  This is not how those of us advocating for Adult Education always approach things.  That doesn’t mean it’s because the larger framework isn’t relevant.  Perhaps it is so relevant that many folks have feared to mention it.  Either way, it’s real and so are these inspiring and informing speeches.  Check them out.

2. Yong Zhao’s keynote speech on Saturday – hilarious, insightful, with plenty to chew on.  He focused on the American obsession with teaching and stratification which I would sum up as cutting off our nose to improve our face.   How does what he’s saying here pertain to Adult Education?  Well, given the fact we’ve had to prove our value far more than any other branch of public education and the favored way to prove value these days is testing, that’s a good question. 
But is it a question that will be on the test?  Hmmmm…


If you prefer reading it – especially in parts, Mercedes Schneider went to the trouble to transcribe it.
You can read it in four parts here:

Part 1  Out of basement readiness and Race to the Big
Part 2  Why is America still here?  Why isn’t China excited about its test scores?
Part 3  China and the search for more Steve Jobs
Part 4  Discussion of Common Core and conclusion

3.  Diane Ravitch in conversation with the presidents of the two big Teacher Unions, Lily Escelsen Garcia and Randi Weingarten.  Lila is president of NEA, the mother ship for CTA – the California Teachers Association.   Randi is present of AFT, mother ship for CFT – California Federation of Teachers.  Some California Adult Schools are unionized.  I don’t know how many.  I don’t know which big union represents more Adult School teachers.  Teachers in LA – the biggest Adult School in California – are represented by UTLA.  Through UTLA, they can pay dues to either or both CFT or CTA.   How does all this connect to Adult Education and Adult Schools in California?  Given the fact that neither union devoted a huge amount of energy to either Adult Schools cuts and closures or the elimination of funding for Parent Education and Older Adults, that’s another good question.  This is not to say that unions are not important, valuable, and doing good and needed work where Public Education, including Adult Education, is concerned.  It may be an indication that Public Ed is being slammed by so much from so many sides that there isn’t the energy to go around for the smaller branches that are Adult Schools, “Adult Education,” and Community College Non-Credit.  I don’t know.   Unions matter.  Very much so.  So with that in mind, listen in to this conversation.


4.  Student Panel.  Wow.  Hang onto your hats.  These young people rock.   And just because they are young, do not make the mistake of thinking they don’t have a lot to teach us.  They do.  So click “play” and give them a listen.  Be sure to take notes.


5.  More Than A Score:  Black Student Lives Matters – Workshop by Jesse Hegopian and Seattle NAACP President Rita Green.

Another big wow.  Sitting in on this workshop (and you can see I was sitting right there in the front row next to Diane Ravitch), I felt like I was sitting in on history.  When brilliant people call out the truth of a situation and call in others to action, including groups which have separate momentum and the potential for bigger momentum if they join together in common purpose… that’s a big deal.  See it here for real:

Workshop:


Jesse Hagopian Rita Greene NPE Conference 2015 from nLightn Media on Vimeo.

Q & A portion of the session:


Jesse Hagopian Rita Greene NPE Conference 2015 Q and A portion of the Session! from nLightn Media on Vimeo.

6.  Workshop on Student Privacy

—  waiting on the video for this one.  I have the photos of the powerpoint which I might post in a separate blog post.

7.  Closing Keynote and Call to Action with Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union President.

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