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Peter Cunningham

An End-of-Year Note to Our Friends and Partners on All Sides of the Debate

For the last 16 months, thousands of students, parents, teachers and others like you have shared their views on education through Education Post, affiliated blogs, newspapers and other platforms, engaging with millions of readers across the country and inspiring great conversations about how we can improve schools. Paraphrasing Robert Kennedy’s “ripples of hope” passage, when enough people thoughtfully and respectfully engage with each other, public awareness increases from small ripples of insight to powerful waves of understanding, consensus slowly builds and progress steadily advances. Ultimately, more informed dialogue yields better policy choices and student outcomes. As our slogan suggests, we truly believe that better conversation leads to better education, and even when we can’t agree on certain issues, it is valuable and productive to listen and reflect. So, on behalf of all of us at Education Post and our supporters, partners and friends on all sides of the issues, we thank you for being a part of the conversation. Thank you even more for caring. I’d like to close out the year with two simple requests:
  • Send us a sentence or two on your hopes for 2016. We will publish them in a collection at the start of the new year.
  • Share a story of success in education involving someone you know, a school you have visited, or an issue you care about.
You can send it to me at pcunningham@educationpost.org. Finally, I want to take note of some of the change underway in public education. At the federal level we have a new education law that pushes more responsibility for accountability back to the states. We have a new education secretary for the last year of the Obama administration. And we have a national election underway that could bring even more changes in federal policy in 2017, although there has been very little discussion about education in the campaigns so far. At the state and local level, we have lively debates around charters and choice, standards, accountability, testing, discipline, technology, funding and many other issues. Student demographics are changing with more kids of color and low-income students than ever before. Districts are finding new and better ways to recruit, train and support their teachers and develop strong school leaders. These and other changes deserve our collective scrutiny and analysis. While policy experts and journalists will continue to sift through anecdotes, evidence and data and report back what they see, everyday people who experience these issues in homes, schools and classrooms across America still have the most important perspective. Your voice matters, so thanks for speaking up.  
Peter Cunningham
Peter Cunningham is the founder of Education Post and serves on its board. He served as Assistant Secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration’s first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan when he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Peter is affiliated with Whiteboard ...

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