Diane\'s Blog

Jody Mason Westbrook

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

This weekend, I met with a group called The Star Learners. We have been meeting twice a year for 20 years. We choose a topic to study, and take turns planning and facilitating the learning design for our gatherings. Most, but not all, of us are educational professionals, primarily in the discipline of Professional Development. We have several authors in our midst and are a passionate and committed group.

Our topic this past weekend was “Creating a Vivid Future for Public Education.” We used your book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System and Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. We invited some high school students to be a part of the group and talked about the “current state” the “probable state” and the “preferred state” of the purpose of education, what should be taught, high-stakes testing, and other issues.

I described the letters and notes I have been writing to our legislators, and the calls I’ve been making. As the weekend continued, the passion grew and people made commitments in our final activity which was “My Story of the Preferred Future of American Education.” One of our members is a Superintendent of a small south Texas school system. He told a story of Angela and how she worked so hard on our infamous state test, the TAKS. We encouraged him to take the story public, and the courageous and savvy man did it! It is posted on Youtube here.

I just wanted you to know that we appreciate your work and your support. I want you to know that because of you, several of us are stepping out of our comfort zones and stepping into defending public education.

Thanks so much for your work, and for your time.

Jody Mason Westbrook