Why Educon Matters to Me

If you’ve spent any time reading the Radical in the past few years, you probably know that I’m your friendly neighborhood pessimist in most circumstances.  There’s no “glass half full” in my world because the glass is most often shattered on the floor in the corner of the room!


That’s why Sam Chaltain’s question at Educon yesterday caught me by surprise: If you’re a pessimist, why do you keep coming back to a conference where so much optimism about what education could be is shared in session after session?

Here’s my answer:

(Download slide on Flickr)

Long story short:  As a classroom teacher working in a state where regressive policies are dominating nearly every conversation about education — where tenure has been eliminated, where high-stakes, low-skill tests are used to evaluate teachers, where teacher salaries have been frozen for going on 8 years, where incentives for earning Masters degrees have been stripped from pay schedules — Educon is a place where I can still come to dream and to imagine what could be.

While I still doubt about whether or not I’ll ever see the changes advocated for by the thinkers in room after room here at SLA take hold in a scalable, systemic way given the #edpolicy quackery that governs my work, the conversations I have at Educon always leave me with a renewed sense that we CAN create something better for our kids and a renewed hope that tomorrow’s schools will be better than today’s.

Any of this make sense?

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  • Alfonso Gonzalez

    Yes this makes sense! We all need inspiration and that’s where the choir comes in. It helps to remind ourselves we’re on the right track by preaching to the choir. We don’t need naysayers very often. And as the choir I appreciate being preached to as that often helps me stay the course, esp when I feel like I may need to switch.

    • billferriter

      Alfonso wrote;

      Alfonso wrote;

      And as the choir I appreciate being preached to as that often helps me stay the course, esp when I feel like I may need to switch.


      This is a great point, Alfonso — I never considered the fact that we SHOULD be preaching to the choir.  I always see our audiences as people who haven’t embraced the message, but preaching to each other is often just as important for keeping each other moving forward.



  • BillIvey

    “Preaching to the Choir”

    Every thing I think of to say is in that drawing. We need to know there are other people who feel and think more or less as we do (being part of the choir). We need to feel we’re stretching ourselves and learning and moving forward (being preached to). We need the renewal of energy that can result from all of the above. Granted, I’ve never been able to go to #educon (though I do try and get involved in Twitter conversations over that weekend), but the principle still holds in my virtual (and occasionally face to face) worlds.

    Now… how do we handle virtual karaoke next year for those of us who stay home to write progress reports and work scoreboard for a home basketball game?!

  • StevePetoskey

    Education budget

    Today I had an email that showed that Arizona had the 5th best environment for low taxation. However, the stats showed that Arizona was 47th when it came to spending money to educate students. Don’t they both cancel each other out?