Saturday, April 16, 2016

@NPE16NC - Friday, April 15 report

I don't want to get tracked into extensive reporting on the conference - it seems too much like work. I'm basically here to touch base with people from around the nation to see where people are coming from and also to hang out with old contacts and make some new ones.

Naturally there is some controversy over the decision to go on with the conference in NC. Some people are trying to call us out for not cancelling. My reaction was why didn't these same people call for boycotts in NC over the massive assault over the last few years on teachers and public schools? I am not generally in favor of boycotting. Springsteen by coming here would have been more effective in fighting the law by using his platform to talk to the people who live here.

Some bloggers have addressed the issue:
North Carolina’s Race to the Bottom
I only wish that all these folks would gather up the same righteous indignation for what this same state administration has done to destroy the public schools of North Carolina. The NPE is meeting in Raleigh because we seek to fly into the eye of the storm. And the storm clouds have been gathering over North Carolina’s schools for years.... The governor and the legislature of North Carolina have made it clear to teachers: we don't want you here. Some North Carolina educators have already taken the hint and are searching for jobs elesewhere. Many more will likely follow them. In fact, The Charlotte Observer reports that schools in Texas are actively recruiting North Carolina teachers and are offering them hefty salary increases. So we gather in Raleigh, North Carolina this weekend to make sure these destroyers know that we will not be silent in the face of this unconscionable destruction.
The anti-discrimination laws are being discussed and there are probably few groups of people who are more attuned to that issue than the people who are here.

Diane Ravitch addressed the issue:
North Carolina: We Are Exactly Where We Should Be
You don’t beat bullies by running away. We are all wearing “Repeal HB2” stickers. We have cards to hand out wherever we go, telling merchants that we oppose HB2 and won’t return until it is repealed.
We are not running away. We are here to stand by the good people of North Carolina and pray for the day when they are able to vote these hate mongers out of office. We are here because injustice is here. We are exactly where we should be. You don’t beat bullies by running away. We are all wearing “Repeal HB2” stickers. We have cards to hand out wherever we go, telling merchants that we oppose HB2 and won’t return until it is repealed. We are not running away. We are here to stand by the good people of North Carolina and pray for the day when they are able to vote these hate mongers out of office. We are here because injustice is here. We are exactly where we should be.
I had an interesting day
I got in Friday morning at about 10 AM after staying the night in Rocky Mount, about an hour away. The 500 mile drive down was easier than I thought it would be and I enjoyed the solitude of the
road. I left home on Thursday at 8:30 and arrived at 5. I left Rocky Mount at 9 and was in my hotel room in Raleigh by 10:30, went out exploring, got hungry (natch), found a popular chicken place called Beasley's Chicken and Honey, headed over to the natural history museum
which I enjoyed and picked up this tee - 

Registration was going on in the hotel lobby at 5:30 and I ran into Beth Domino and Terry Kalb and we connected with a Chicago activist parent and her equally activist daughter who is a high school senior, some Ohio and Virginia BATS and we all headed out to find a place to eat at a Mexican restaurant which turned out to be an interesting place given the climate in the state. We are all carrying notes to leave at places we eat and shop at. Look at the menu and the posters in the window of the restaurant.





There was a film night last night starting at 7 but we didn't get out until almost 8:30 but I made it in time to see our own Michael Elliot show some of the work he has done and is doing.

Then it was back to the hotel lobby which was jumping. Leonie Haimson came in last night and we got to see our parent activist Khem Irby who moved down here with her husband. So it was like old home week as we hung out in the bar talking about old and new times.

BATS from various states are a major presence and they have been effective. At dinner with some Ohio BATS I was impressed with their statewide network. One 17 year teacher echoed what I am hearing. She felt so isolated she was ready to leave teaching but the BATS saved her. We hear that coming from people in MORE too. I was surprised that people from other states are ed notes readers and also knew of the GEM film. Everyone seems to have heard of it.




I am telling people from other states about UCORE which is meeting down here in August. Forming these networks both local, regional and nationally is important work and the NPE conference this weekend is one more step in moving toward informing and activating educators and supporters.

I'm writing on Saturday at 10:30 at the keynote with Diane after the first morning session I attended which I will report on later or tomorrow.

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