ELECTION: Happy, Realistic, Purposeful
Barack Obama's election as President has made a lot of people understandably very happy. A change of parties in control of the executive branch. A new generation of leadership in the White House. The first African-American president-elect. Lots of new opportunities for work. If my meds didn't prevent me from experiencing strong emotions, I'd be happy too.
But there's a reason that -- did you notice? -- Obama was hopeful but not exhultant last night during his acceptance speech.
In education, for example, no one has presented a realistic path by which education issues become any more of a priority (or a reality) than they were 24 hours ago. Don't let anyone tell you they have, or dangle shiny plans in front of you without explaining how they get enacted. With the campaign done, it's clear that much of what was promised cannot and will not happen anytime soon. The economy is such a mess and foreign relations needs immediate attention.
So let's not beat our heads against the wall about that, or pretend things are going to happen when they're not. Instead, how about focusing on smaller, lower-cost things that could still have a tremendous impact on improving schools: viral philanthropy like Nothing But Nets, better research so we know what we're doing before we jump into things (again), open-source alternatives to costly software applications, community engagement efforts (parents union, anyone?).
I think there's lots of good things to be done in education during the next four years. Just probably not many of the things that people are talking about now.