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May 26, 2010

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Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Gosh, Marsha,
What a beautiful post. I guess that's the sign of a good leader, you bring out the best in those around you. Wait, I also think that's the sign of a great teacher, you bring out the best in students too.

How could anyone not respond to your straightforward honesty, spoken from the heart and rich in content?

Both sides learned something from this awkward call: they learned we had valuable things to say and we were willing to say them calmly and professionally. But we learned that a script is not for us, that our hearts speak more honestly then any teleprompter, and that those at the DOE might actually be hearing our words.

Congratulations on keeping the door open for us all.

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Bill Ivey

Most encouraging. Thank you for sharing!

mratzel

You're right on....more than anything bout teaching, I learned that I have to be true to who I am and let everyone else worry about whatever it is they worry about. If I do that, then I can always hold my head up high.

I think we were a good team and the other huge take away for me....is that once again, I've found a good friend and colleague through the power of virtual learning communities.

As our buddy Bill would say, Rock On!!!!

mratzel

You know Bill....you have the wisdom, too. I wish you were in this group. You have that level headedness that we need plus unbounded insight.

Anyway that I can interest you?

David B. Cohen

Nicely done Marsha, from working to make this all happen, to the way you handled the call when it came, to the blog entry. Keep up the good work! I like the way you sold yourself, and the group - unaffiliated, knowledgeable, passionate, skilled. And yes, ditch the DOE tech and the DOE packaged sessions.

Michelle

Full disclosure... I am currently employed by the Department of Education (Ask David C.-- he can vouch for me!) I'm also a former classroom teacher of ten years, high school English, from the Silicon Valley and am currently a Teacher Ambassador Fellow in the Department. My role, and they actually PAY me to do this while on leave from my district, is to facilitate teacher voice in federal policy. (Hmmm… evidence, perhaps that they DO value teacher voice?)

However, at this moment, I'm speaking for private self and not my professional self (if that is really even possible-- as a teacher, who I am and what I do are inextricably linked and I think likewise as an Ambassador Fellow.)

I can't believe I didn't know about Letters to Obama group before this week! I guess I should be fired. :-)

I'm sure you will think that because I "drink the Koolaid" now that I am not as credible as I might have been a year ago. I hope that isn't the case.

Far from "selling out"... I promise you I have not. It has been a difficult and exhilarating ride. No day has been the same. I do not agree with every part of the administration's agenda. But that has been true of every administration. This one is no different. There are days I wonder why I'm here, and there are other days that I feel I've had a major impact (i.e. I don't think it's random that the Department is trying so hard to talk to and listen to teachers?-- I like to think (and give them credit for listening to me) that I played a small part in that.

I was thrilled when I heard that Arne (he says, "My mother named me Arne, not Secretary.") had called to speak with Anthony and Marsha.

The man you spoke to on the phone, Marsha, IS listening to you and DOES get it. I wish every teacher in the country could talk one on one with him. My opinion is that we would be in a very different place in terms of how Arne Duncan is “perceived” to feel about teachers.

The Secretary is a man who cares deeply about teachers and the work we do. He has put improving our profession at the center of his agenda, but that doesn't really get any press. What gets press is the more controversial pieces of the agenda.


I have deep respect for the work you are doing because I lived it everyday for ten years. Our work with students is always at the center of what we do.

I have spent the last year listening to teachers from all over the country. I am in the role I'm in because the Secretary feels so strongly about having a program that brings teacher voice into the department.

I'm thankful for the work that you and TLTO have done to mobilize teachers' voices on issues of national education policy. Keep it up. It is making a difference, but as you know, the wheels of progress turn slowly.

All this to say: You are right to be hopeful. :-)


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