Saturday, March 19, 2011

7 Sound Bites for Ed Reform (#idesmar)

In January, Rick Hess allowed guest blogger, Roxanna Elden, to present "What We're Trying to Say Here..." Media Training Tips for Teachers.

As I have written and presented throughout out this year, I believe strongly that we educators need to do a better job talking about all of the good that our public schools really do. Over the next several posts, I will use Roxana's article to share some ideas.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my PLN for a phrase that educators could use when talking about education reform. I got the idea from this part of Roxana's article:

Principle #3: Find your "quotable quote."
Teachers prepare students for academic discussions, but television's short attention span for each issue doesn't give us time to build logical points based on evidence. Politicians, on the other hand, know they have to boil down points to manageable sound bites that are easy to quote and hard to take out of context. (And hard to argue against without sounding like a jerk.) They will often lead with statements like, "Teachers are the most important factors in our children's education," then pause for applause. Meanwhile, we're waiting for the conversation to turn toward issues like over-emphasis on questionable test scores. What we don't realize is a savvy politician is unlikely to say the word "test" at any point during an event full of teachers. He or she is more likely to employ a series of practiced sound bites about how "children, especially in this vibrant community that I am so happy to be visiting today, deserve only the best education," followed by some generic comment about the importance of identifying outstanding educators. If teachers want our points to get equal airtime, we need to take our own main points and condense them into equally media-friendly phrases. Come up with three different succinct ways to express each of the three main points on your list. Also remember your audience is not the people you see every day who already agree with you, but fair-minded people who may not know basic facts that insiders take for granted.

I got a few fantastic ideas through twitter.

@slaleman Edu is about giving EVERYONE a shot at the Amer. dream, not just those with money or connections. Edu can be great equalizer

@QZLPatriotHawk: Simply put...Hope and Equality for ALL.

@Akevy613 Helping students succeed. Giving our students tools to be successful in life. Facilitating the growth of tomorrows leaders

@j_allen: Passionate

@walterASCD: We teach the future! (old slogan)

@walterASCD fueling the engine of our information economy by preparing students for the opportunities that lay in the century ahead

@ericjuli we are an opportunity to end the cycle of poverty for kids with dreams @myen

Go ahead, come up with your own quotable quote. Share it here in the comments and on twitter.

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