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[Susan notes: David B. Cohen makes a good point, writing on the blogsite of this letter, "Those of us in the best position to add some depth and substance to these discussions are for the most part laboring in obscurity, and often laboring too intensely to know just how deep that obscurity is. As a result, “they” end up discussing "education" as a socio-economic system to be manipulated to produce certain outputs, rather than education as a dynamic ongoing process of human development."]

Published in Learning Is Messy blog

Dear NBC News and Brian Williams:

An Open Letter To NBC News and Brian Williams

I see NBC News is providing a broadcast forum called “Education Nation.” NBC is billing it as: "Education Nation is a nationally broadcast, in-depth conversation about improving education in America." As I look over the list of, “confirmed participating speakers” I see finance people, mayors, various other politicians, news people like yourself, business people, union representatives, current and former US Education Secretaries (none of whom were teachers), sponsors that paid money to get a seat at the table, and other "experts." What I am not seeing represented in this "In depth conversation," are teachers and students and parents.

I know, I know, you are having a "Teacher Townhall" where teachers can apply and might be chosen if their "one major change that you think could help to transform education in America," happens to be chosen. Mr. Williams, can we see the application the "experts" had to fill out to get their much more prominent voice? What questions did they have to answer to "get" to be part of the conversation? Why isn’t there a teacher, and student, and parent group that will have more than one question or opinion or voice "if" they are lucky enough to be chosen?

Do you see any irony in the fact that none of the "experts" (speakers) are teachers, students or parents? (Much less many of them?) Could that be part of the problem in American education that "sponsors," corporations, news people, administrators and others have a prominent voice in education, but all the REAL stakeholders are, "thrown a bone" so that they can participate if they are lucky to be chosen based on their "application" so they can talk during a show at noon on Sunday during football and baseball playoff season? Gee, thanks.

And understand that teachers, parents and students actually have differing and well thought out positions on what education could and should be, so to just have a few representatives from each of those stakeholders isn't good enough. If this is really meant to be an "in-depth conversation about improving education in America," give real voice to those that should be MOST prominent in this discussion. Otherwise frankly, it is of little real value. Mainly only those that always have voice because of their wealth and connections will be major parts of this important conversation.

I would be happy to provide you names and contact information of quality participants for your discussion.

Thank you,

Brian Crosby, Teacher

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