Wednesday, January 2, 2013

UPDATE: This Week In Education: Morning Video: Matt Damon's School Reform Movie

This Week In Education: Morning Video: Matt Damon's School Reform Movie:

Morning Video: Matt Damon's School Reform Movie

The new movie "Promised Land" looks like it has lots to offer education types, especially those who are critical of the current school reform movement: Popout
Celebrity school reform critic Matt Damon plays a leading role.  The actress from "My Sister's Sister" who's not Emily Blunt plays a teacher who is the moral center of the film. And the topic -- whether it's better to "save" small rural towns with natural gas leases (aka, fracking) or to try and help them recover otherwise -- might as well be about school reform. Right?

Media: Don't Forget To Apply For A Spencer Fellowship

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Before you forget or lose momentum, write up that Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship for 2013-2014 and join luminaries such as Pat Wingert, Nancy Solomon, Elizabeth Green, Dana Goldstein, Peg Tyre, and Greg Toppo.  You have until January 31 (here).

Update: New Year's Blogging Resolutions

As the new year ramps up, I thought I'd share some half-baked blogging and writing resolutions with you in the hopes that you'd (a) tell me what I missed or got wrong and (b) remind me when I forget what I resolved:
1 - Quality content:  In the current era where every think tank, news outlet, nonprofit, and classroom teacher has his or her own blog and Twitter feed and YouTube channel the real issue is selecting (and writing) high-quality content that provides useful information and is intellectually honest rather than predictible, self-serving, and unchanging. Less is more. This may be the hardest one for me.
2 - Longer, more thoughtful pieces: Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest and Facebook are all great -- I have and do them all -- but there's really no replacement for longer essays and reported stories that can convey nuance, detail, and flesh out an idea or issue -- and no reason given the rise of longform blog sites and tablet readers not to share (and write) more of these in 2013.  [Wouldn't you know it, this is my shortest resolution?]
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3 - Fresh new voices and perspectives:  I don't know about you but I feel like I already know what most folks out there are going to say, and have become pretty sick of hearing them say it. As I did last year with the addition of Paul Bruno I'm going to try and ferret out new, fresh voices that take on a different view, share a different perspective, or at least give us a break from the circular firing squad of familiar voices.
4 - Constructive criticism:  It's all too easy to find flaws in what others are doing or saying, and to come up with pretty-sounding alternatives.  But the folks being criticized usually aren't malicious idiots.  They're doing what they're doing for reasons -- logistical and political limitations, usually -- that critics like me all too often ignore.  I'm going to try and do more about viable alternatives in 2013, and call out those on all sides who rely too much on critiquing the other side instead of coming up with workable (not wishful) alternatives.
5 - Building out my blogging empire:  It's been a ton of fun blogging about national issues, Chicago, and (most recently) Los Angeles, as well as posting silly stuff on Hot For education.  They all sort of work together.  And, despite the glut of blogs out there, I think there's still room for another hyper-niche blog of some kind.  I'm just not sure what the topic should be.  A few years ago I scared and amused folks with the idea of a blog focused entirely on the world of education philanthropy that I wanted to call "Bill Gates' Magic Spray Can."  More recently, I've thought about a blog focused on middle-class parents, gentrification, and diversity -- one of several "what next?" issues that I and others have been writing about over the past year or so.  Dibs. 
That's it for now.  What have I missed or gotten wrong?  What would you suggest that I do more or differently in 2013 (and do you want to help and/or fund the effort)? Which resolution have I already broken?