Friday morning’s I Love Public Education rally at AASA’s national conference drew a crowd of more than 1,500 of public education’s biggest fans – the nation’s superintendents, district leaders and others connected to education.
“We don’t have to make public education great again,” AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech told the crowd from the stage. “It’s the best it’s ever been!”
The association’s I Love Public Education campaign, launched last summer, offers a chance to celebrate the positive developments happening in public schools. His warm greeting brought grins to the faces in the audience.
“You have much to be proud of,” Gail Pletnick, AASA president, told attendees. “On the count of three, I want to hear ‘I love public education!’” Naturally, a healthy response was evident. “We are loud, we are proud and we are strong; everyone in this room is important,” she added with enthusiasm.
Then Pletnick drove home the point by sharing findings from the latest Phi Delta Kappa survey of public attitudes about education. “Seventy one percent of parents with children in public schools rate their school with an A or a B. If your parents give your schools A’s and B’s, say ‘Yes.’” A strong response followed.
Shawn Joseph, superintendent of the Metro Nashville Public School District, greeted the crowd and then filled them in on challenges and progress that he’s made since he started 18 months ago. The district is proud that its band rated fourth in the state. But, he said, “two out of three students can’t read at grade level.”
The 50-minute public rally included a performance by singer Lizzie Sider, founder of Nobody Has the Power to Ruin Your Day with her anti-bully prevention theme song “Butterfly.”
See Michelle Reid’s blog post about this event.
(Liz Griffin is senior editor for Conference Daily Online.)