Education Transformation Sound Bites

After feeling defeated by watching the Education Nation Teacher Town Hall, I was happy to attend the Future of Education Event, Elevating the Education Reform Dialog. This incredible conversation was lead by Steve Hargadon, Betty Ray, Alfie Kohn, Deborah Meier, Diane Ravitch, Sir Ken Robinson, Gary Stager, Chris Lehmann, Julie Evans, and Will Richardson. The conversation I felt focused on supporting teachers and finding solutions to education transformation. My huge problem with the Education Nation event is that many teachers seemed to send the message that we should get rid of bad teachers. I think that is a waste of breath to shout fire teachers when we could spend that energy finding viable solutions to education transformation! I was sadly disappointed that when educators had the chance to spread a message through the media, the ones on the Education Nation show did not send support or talk about the real issues plaguing our education system, such as the focus on standardized tests or the bad policies that chain educators into teaching to the test. The Future of Education Event did send a message of support and we discussed how to break the chains of bad policy.

Chris Lehmann, one of the panelists, put forth the idea that we need to come back with our own sound bites much like the celebrities speaking against teachers do. Therefore, I have listed sound bites collected from the event through tweeting. I did these quickly as I listened so these may not be the exact words of the speakers.

Sound Bites

Its deplorable we’re no longer asking teachers how to improve schools ~ @alfiekohn
I’m allergic to too much top down; Teachers should oppose national standards~ @alfiekohn
The elite will decide what those standards are ~ @alfiekohn
If our goal is for kids to be excited about ideas then reform a very different direction~ @alfiekohn
People who know least about how children learn are the ones with the most power~ @alfiekohn
We need to promote diversity not uniformity in the models we prescribe~ @SirKenRobinson
There is no ‘silver bullet’ for education. All schools are different~ @SirKenRobinson
Is there a scalable solution? This is the wrong approach~ @SirKenRobinson
We need solutions, can’t spend too much time finding the problems~ @SirKenRobinson
There’s a need for more than reform, there’s a need for transformation~ @SirKenRobinson
Every school can transform itself in the next year, you don’t have to wait for permission~ @SirKenRobinson
Change happens from the ground up and politicians have to create climate for this~ @SirKenRobinson
The moment is right to take the conversation forward, movement through social media certainly possible~ @SirKenRobinson
How do we leverage student voice to drive this conversation?~ @projecttomorrow Julie Evans
A website is no longer enough, those with big voices like George Lucas need to say “Cut it Out”~ @garystager
George Lucas could go to Washington and say Cut it Out re Standardized testing! Media would follow him~ @garystager
I think the folks strangling us right hate children and certainly teachers~ @garystager
Real learning happens when we can create schools that are democratic and not mandated to follow the status quo.~ @garystager
Media insanity showing if we do same thing over and over but louder it will work ~ @garystager
Many schools show alternative what school can be in democratic society, many models~ @garystager
In some places, schools are mind-numbing soul killing places~ @garystager
Very difficult for teachers to see themselves as learners 1st, teachers 2nd~ @willrich45
We can’t talk about learning without talking about technology~ @willrich45
Schools as we know it aren’t the only places children will learn~ @willrich45
We will never bully teachers into caring about kids~ @chrislehmann
Children should be the forefront of everything we do, not the implied object~ @chrislehmann
Democracy- You are as good as I! Message we need to get across ~ @chrislehmann
Do teachers have a say in their work environment? If yes, then better alone or collectively? Teacher Unions~ @chrislehmann
Celebrities and politicians beating us to the punch line, stealing our language~ @chrislehmann
We need to learn the message of Twitter, say it succinctly ~ @chrislehmann
Teachers can be heard, it begins with the bloggers~ @DebMeier
People like @stevehargadon can bring teachers to the forefront~ @DebMeier
There has to be a way kids can be raised in an environment of trust ~ @DebMeier
Teachers try to be trouble makers till they’re threatened then we must decide~ @DebMeier
As teachers there is a lot more we can do speaking and writing about our role in school reform~ @DebMeier
A long history where teachers not respected and treated like a bad child, a strange world~ @DebMeier
Schools built on the assumption of distrust that shows itself in so many ways~ @DebMeier
We don’t build in enough time in schools for parents, teachers, students to have conversations~ @DebMeier
No reforms will work unless there is respect for the teachers in the classroom! ~@DianeRavitch
The future of democracy as an idea is important to get across~ @DebMeier
What is it that is so important that we require students to be there day after day?~@DebMeier
Message we need to get across we are building a profession not a revolving door policy~@DianeRavitch
Its taken 40yrs for me to get my voice heard, don’t wait that long~@DianeRavitch
Will the voices of Teachers be raised when media with billionaire boys club?~@DianeRavitch
There has to be a counter narrative where teachers are supported~@DianeRavitch
I’m worried the national dialogue is hostile towards teachers~@DianeRavitch


Share the recorded webinar with educators not involved in social media and find out their thoughts about the ideas suggested.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. YES! We agree so fervently that classroom teachers need to be heard from, we started The VIVA Project (Vision Idea Voice Action) a few weeks ago This web-based collaboration allows classroom teachers to share their inspired ideas for and from the classroom and have those ideas delivered (sometimes in person by the very same teachers) to top policy makers. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is waiting for your first set of ideas. Join the conversation now; teachers will be preparing a report for the Secretary soon.

  2. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this, Shelly!

    The event took place too late in the day for me, but it sounds really interesting and I look forward to watching the recording when it becomes available.

    Re: your comments about the Education Nation Teacher Town Hall and calls for getting rid of bad teachers; it always disappoints me when I see people take this attitude. Personally, I think we should be supporting educators who aren’t up to the job and helping them become better teachers, in the same way we would go out of our way to help and support learners who are struggling.

    Just my ten pence worth…


    • Thanks Sue!

      We should show support. After all in every field there are people who don’t do their job to the fullest but I believe in education that it’s more that the teachers are burnt out. The system really wears you down as well as bad education policy which most countries suffer from. I think when we begin supporting teachers we will see an incredible shift in attitude which will have a huge impact on students.

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