It is hard to believe, but Eduflack is now two years old. When I started this little endeavor, I never quite expected it to last this long (or to have the readership base that it has today). Honestly, this was started as a cathartic exercise, an opportunity for me to think through a range of education improvement issues and get a better look at what is working and what is not.
From the beginning, I had sought to frame education through a communications lens, looking at how effective (or ineffective) we are in talking about school improvements and reforms. The words we choose. The rhetoric we use. The channels we speak through. The audiences we identify and reach. The measurements by which we dub reform, and the communication of it, successful.
Along the way, we’ve taken many twists and turns. The most significant is I seem to talk just as much about pure education policy as I do about its communication. That is to be expected. Eduflack is not your garden-variety flack. In my professional life, I actually spend the majority of my time working on leading education policy issues, including reading instruction, high school improvement, STEM education, early childhood education, ELL, and other such topics. My company, Exemplar Strategic Communications (www.exemplarpr.com) is more of a policy and strategy shop than a communications shop. I spend a great deal of time with research and data, trying to figure out what the numbers tell us about what works and what doesn’t. And I tend to focus on overall strategy, looking at how a new idea, a new organization, or a particular intervention fits into the overall education framework and how to best position that idea for maximum receptivity and impact. So it is only natural that my personal writings would be an offshoot of the deep policy discussions I am engaging in on a daily basis.
Since its launch in March 2007, Eduflack has posted 370 entries. That’s more than three a week. I recognize that this is not your typical blog. Loyal readers know I tend to write really long (most posts are at least 1,000 words). I don’t do drive-by postings or throw up the latest gossip of the day. I try to ground each post in recent news coverage or data release. And there are a few topics (reading, STEM, and national standards) that I just can’t let go of, like a dog with well-chewed bone. That’s just who I am, and that’s not going to change.
What will year three look like? More of the same, I’m afraid. I still refuse to admit that reading instruction is not a national priority, and I will continue to use Eduflack to advocate for evidence-based reading instruction and to spotlight those states and districts that are doing it right, those SEAs and LEAs that provide a real blueprint for how to build a better federal reading program. I will continue to focus on STEM education, knowing it is the clearest path to linking education and the economy and ensuring that the United States has the strongest, best skilled pool of 21st century workers. I will continue to press for national standards, believing they are a necessary pathway to real school improvement.
And in the coming year, we’ll see a few additional priorities. I want to write more about ELL and ESL issues, particularly as states grapple with how to get our Spanish-speaking populations up to par academically. I will spend more time on the general issue of teaching and teacher development, with a focus on the sorts of content-based, job-embedded PD we know teachers need to do their jobs well. We’ll talk more about data-based decisionmaking, from the top all the way down to the classroom. And issues like early childhood education and charters will be more prominent in these entries as we see the impact they have on really improving our K-12 offerings.
Of course, the self-indulgent posts updating the developmental progress of my son, Miggy, and my daughter, Anna, will continue as proudly as ever before.
I just wanted to take a moment to that everyone for their support of Eduflack, their comments, their guidance, and their interest. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to hear that people read this blog, share its content, and appreciate its insights. I am particularly grateful for those who continue to send me research, positive stories, and “ideas” for posts. Those are incredibly helpful to me and give me great optimism when it comes to the future of education improvement. So please keep those ideas and suggestions flowing. Just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And I’m always up to an off-line dialogue or debate, if that’s what you are seeking.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been a terrific two years for Eduflack, and I look forward to many more. At this point, this blog is my middle child. It requires constant care and attention. And I’m proud of all of those who have and will contribute to its development.