Another member of the Coalition for Better Education shows that this group has what it takes. Yvonne exhibits several excellent strategies for speaking truth to power.
I attended the Boulder for Bennet fundraiser at the invitation of Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Jared Polis. I responded to the invite via e-mail and told them I could not afford to donate $125 to BennetÃ¢€™s campaign, because my husband has been out of work since June 2008 and I work for free. I was graciously invited to attend the gathering as a guest of Udall and Polis.
Armed with The Petition to End NCLB signed by almost 35,000 people along with the preamble and other materials (just in case), I entered the gathering.
Appointed Senator Bennet spoke to those in attendance and then fielded questions.
During his brief speech, Bennet spoke about the following (I took notes; I was the only one who took notes):
1. His background turning around failing business, which is how he made his money.
2. Being superintendent of Denver Public Schools.
3. 1/3 of TARP money is being paid back to the government.
4. Chrysler is doing better.
5. Passage of the Tobacco Reform Act.
6. Sotomayor, ObamaÃ¢€™s appointment to the Supreme Court, will become the next AmericaÃ¢€™s sweetheart.
7. DEMS need to hold seats in the 2010 election.
Now for the part where Bennet answered questions. The audience asked Bennet questions about the following:
1. Health Care
2. PEAK Oil and socio-economic impact on America
3. North Korea
4. Renewable Energy
6. NCLB and High Stakes Testing (I made a comment, then asked about NCLB and high stakes testing.
7. How is the government going to help the poor? (Asked by an elementary school kid,)
The essence of BennetÃ¢€™s response was basically the party line. BennetÃ¢€™s message is the same as DuncanÃ¢€™s message with regards to education. I will try to summarize. According to Bennet:
1. We have to transform health care. He talked about the fact that the doctors test, test, test and the cost of healthcare is a concern. He said that all those tests donÃ¢€™t do much good, if there is not good preventative health care.
2. Bennet praised Ritter, governor of Colorado for being far-sighted regarding the OIL situation in Colorado. Then provided a brief comment about renewable energy and how lucky Colorado is to have sunshine and wind.
3. Talked about the strategy behind being a moderate Democrat [sic].
4. Briefly talked about the threats from North Korea, then mentioned that there are also threats to the U.S.A. in Pakistan, and Iran.
5. NCLB Act and high stakes testing arenÃ¢€™t going away. However, D.C. knows that the NCLB Act is flawed. At the same teachers need to be ACCOUNTABLE. He doesnÃ¢€™t want to see a teacher teaching the same unit on ShakespeareÃ¢€™s work 30 years in a row, and that right now there are "disencentives" in education. Bennet brought up the need for more data (This is something I heard in D.C. when I was there talking with Congress.) to determine how well our students are learning and teachers are teaching. (My comment: We are currently using the same model as business. The quarterly report reigns.)
6. He briefly talked about the need for National Standards for Education, and tied this to the need for teacher accountability.
7. He discussed the need for science and math teachers. Polis agreed.
8. Stated that the U.S. can help poor families by fixing health care, the educational system, and create jobs.
9. Stated that the current system of education is based on an old model that doesnÃ¢€™t serve this country. The old agrarian society model of education does not work in the 21st century.
10. Said that the NCLB Law will change and that this law might emerge with a different name. Polis nodded.
Bennet also told the audience that the DEMS need to hold Congressional seats during the 2010 election. Bennet will be on the Colorado ballot for 2010, running as Senator.
About the petition:
Because I was the only one with that thick petition, several people asked me what I was carrying. I told them it is a petition signed by almost 35,000 people across the nation calling for the dismantling of NCLB. I had several copies of the preamble to the petition, so I handed what I had to those interested.
After Bennet gave his short speech and fielded questions, he stayed and mingled for a bit. I stood next to him because I wanted to show him the thick petition. He asked me what I was carrying, which was a perfect opening. I told him that it is petition signed by almost 35,000 professional educators and citizens calling for the dismantling of NCLB. I handed him the preamble along with information about Educating for Human Greatness and Marion BradyÃ¢€™s power point presentation about why having National Standards is not the way to go.
When I was mingling after Bennet spoke a "few" people came up to me and thanked me for my comments and question.