Commencement 2012: Dismal Roundup Of Education Speakers
There are 1,400 ed schools and tens of thousands more colleges and universities in America and yet there are surprisingly few education types asked to be commencement speakers this year.
An informal roundup of commencement speeches by education types includes Arne Duncan earlier this month at Howard in May, EPI's Richard Rothstein at Loyola Chicago, HCZ's Geoff Canada at Penn (pictured), and "Won't Back Down" actress Viola Davis at her alma mater, Central Falls High School. Perhaps the busiest this season has been NYU's Pedro Noguera who's speaking at the commencement for Metropolitan College of NY and "four high schools; one middle school and one elementary school." Weingarten and Spellings report that they're attending but not speaking at events this year. No response from Ravitch. Wendy Kopp is speaking at Dartmouth in a couple of weeks.
There are probably a few more -- please let me know -- but the ho-hum slate above suggests to me that education folks of all stripes might need to take stock of how well they've done at capturing the popular imagination and what if anything they might need to do to generate stronger, more broad-based appeal. As I've said before to both sides: you think you're winning but you're really not.