The Importance of Voice #RSCON10 #Edchat

One of my favorite movies is Jerry Maguire, because he suddenly wakes up one day and realizes that the way things are don’t have to continue to be that way. He realizes he has the ability to change his environment and he develops his manifesto.

Developing our manifestos for education reform…

I believe events like The Reform Symposium Conference and Edchat inspire educators to wake up and begin developing their manifestos whether it be for abolishing grades, getting rid of standardized tests, or helping students find their passions. I believe these events inspire passion and transform schools. However, not all believe they do and would try to convince you that what you believe and the transformation inside of you doesn’t matter. I would like to encourage you to ignore them and instead begin to lend your voice to the conversation. The education systems in your countries need your voices and your passion.

The sad reality I’ve seen…

I have worked in low-income schools, with at risk students, at alternative schools, with gang members, homeless children, etc. I have entered several school environments and have seen teachers who are worn down by the system. Educators often allow themselves to be fed with negativity and surround themselves with people who do not support them. Their administrators may complain about them, the parents may blame them, the media bashes them, education policy doesn’t support them, bureaucracy overburdens them, and the students disrespect them. I do not believe teachers are bad. I believe they are weighed down by the lack of support.
If several educators across the world feel this way this impacts the school culture and environment. Dispassionate teachers aren’t motivated to inspire passion in their students and they aren’t motivating their students. The problem is we need educators to motivate students. Too much of the world is living in poverty. Too much of the world is inadequately educated. Too many students grow up to repeat poverty and crime cycles. Too many students never achieve their dreams. Too many children stop dreaming in schools.
That is why we need you to be passionate! We need you to inspire other educators! We need your voice in the conversation about education reform! We need you to contribute and develop PLNs. When we begin to develop our Personal/Passionate Learning Networks we become inspired to write our manifestos and we do act!

Passionate people don’t sit still!

Instead, passionate educators inspire their students, try to engage parents, and try to implement change. This is how transformation and reform are created, by those who speak up and fight for a better way. We witnessed this at The Reform Symposium free virtual conference! We were inspired by passionate educators who had transformed their students’ lives. We witnessed what many say is impossible in schools taking place. We began to think about the possibilities! I was so excited to see many new faces and connect with educators I had never had a conversation with before! Thank you!

There will always be people who disagree…

Here’s the thing about passion and movements, there will always be those who believe in the status quo, voice their criticisms, or who would rather close the conversation. Beth Still recently wrote a fantastic post, Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?, regarding this topic. I find opposing opinions refine our beliefs and passions. I believe opposing opinions help us to determine if we really are passionate about the movements we follow. However, I want to challenge those who would say our voices are not creating change to join the conversation. Only when we choose to quit the conversation do we guarantee we never transform the system.

What professional development should look like…

The Reform Symposium managed to do amazing things in its first year.

Reform Symposium Stats
Image Courtesy of Orlando Falvo via Twitter

I’ve been privileged to collaborate with one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with in my life! Chris Rogers, Kelly Tenkely, and Jason Bedell are amazing!

Important Reform Symposium Resources


Go spread the passion and transform your schools!

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