“State of the Unions” panel at The 2017 Atlantic Education Summit.

4 thought-provoking moments from #AtlanticEDU: The Policy Landscape

I had the opportunity to attend the morning portion of The Atlantic Education Summit (#AtlanticEDU) at the Newseum, and hear from some leading voices with a diverse set of perspectives on the policy landscape as we know it right now. While this is NOT a summary of the panels, play-by-play, or endorsement, here are some ideas and takeaways I’ll be personally thinking about in the days to come.

1. The impact of choosing efficiency over community. (Panel: What’s Next For Education Reform)

Derrell Bradford of 50CAN respectfully noted that we often pick the same kind of people to run schools (“Type A white people — many of whom work for me”). But in making that choice, you make the decision to prioritize efficiency over community. Diversity in school leadership is critical.

2. Schools shouldn’t be deserts of joy. (Panel: State of the Unions)

Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers said in talking to students, she often hears “schools have become joyless. If we don’t create joy somewhere in someone’s life, life is tough.” Students are coming to school from all different backgrounds and circumstances, and it is critical to make it a place they can feel safe and pursue interests — and, laugh.

3. Fixing rape culture is a long and complicated endeavor. (Panel: The Role of Title IX Today)

“Holy cow,” noted Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Max McGee, which sort of summed up participants’ audibly enraged response to Stuart Taylor’s dissenting opinion on the role the federal government should play in curbing the epidemic of campus assault (as well as general disagreement on what qualifies as rape). We have so much work to do.

4. Prioritizing tolerance education over punitive action is the way to address systemic ignorance. (Panel: One Student’s Perspective)

Zachariah Sippy is a high school student who experienced discrimination at his high school in Kentucky for being a Jewish American. His principal and superintendent asked for the names of he perpetrators, and he said “hell no.” He argued that what we need is tolerance education, not discipline, and that students understand that — which is why it is critical to involve their voices.

Thank you to @AtlanticLIVE for a great morning. See you next year!