Heading to the Mom Congress on Education & Learning

Sitting on the Amtrak train heading down to DC I’m thinking about what lies ahead at the Mom Congress on Education and Learning.  Sponsored by Parenting Magazine and Georgetown University, the Mom Congress consists of one chosen representative from each state and DC.  I was fortunate enough to be picked to be the New York State representative.   You should check out the bios of these amazing women – I am already in awe of so many of them and I haven’t even met them in person yet.

This has been a crazy week for us in NYC as Cathie Black our latest chancellor resigned – to no surprise to anyone and to cheers in every school in the city.  I personally don’t feel any glee in the announcement.  I think she was set up to fail and a ridiculously arrogant choice and the fact that 3 months have been wasted in the midst of budget cuts and teacher lay off talks is pretty much disgusting all around.  A waste of time, energy and valuable discussion time about our public schools.

For the next 3 days I will be meeting with education leaders – politicians, parents, educators, advocates from all over the education spectrum.  From Jamie Oliver and his team working on school food to curriculum developers on Gifted Education  and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to forums on parental involvement, fundraising and advocacy.  On Wednesday I will be at the White House where a few of us were picked to attend a round table on education and have video interviews taped for the Whitehouse.gov website.  I thought this opportunity couldn’t get any better and then I got that email.  So, after agonizing about what to wear to the White House for days I finally picked something good I hope – meaning my husband declared it very “Michelle Obama.”  I’ll take it.

I have become a conference pro in the last year.  But, this is different.  First of all it’s in DC, which is way more conservative than New York City so a rethinking of my typical wardrobe was in order.  I actually went shopping for “pumps.” Next I’ll be wearing slacks and blouses.  If I buy a pantsuit please stage an intervention.   Second, I am used to pitching my blog, podcast and business not my real life involvement in the PTA (or PA in the case of our school.)  Though my co-hosts usually tease me because I find a way to hit up every company I meet with for how they could help our school or get involved in public education at every event I’m at, it’s still an aside, not my focus at those things.  This is different.  3 whole days of nothing but Ed talk – with my other involvements as the aside.  I can’t wait.

I will be posting everyday so stay tuned…

And if there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear about let me know in the comments!

6 replies on “Heading to the Mom Congress on Education & Learning”

  1. I am so proud to know you! What an honour!

    Public education went from being the great equalizer to the great bearer of disparity. You used to go to the school in your neighbourhood…now you search high and low for the best school…anywhere. The worst part? There’s a price to be paid: whether it’s admission to private school or the potential of sub-par education at public school.

    I hope you discuss some of the root causes that can be used to bring public schools back up to their rightful place in society. You shouldn’t have to live in a ‘certain neighbourhood’ so your kids can get a good education…you should be able to live anywhere and deserve that right.

    p.s. You’re right on with the pumps…but as for the pantsuit – I admit, I do have one…which I break out for Board Meetings…!

  2. I’m SO excited for you! Please tell me everything about the White House when you get back. I’ve been obsessed with what it’s really like since my West Wing addiction. See if you can get into a pick-up meeting while walking around.

    What I want to know is why certain statistically and scientifically proven truths seem to be ignored when creating policy. Like, everyone complains about how difficult it is for boys to sit still in the afternoon, but recess is shortened and gym is taken away, even though studies show that letting kids run around helps them focus later.

    Or study after study has shown that if you’re not sensitive to salt (as the majority of the public is not) then you don’t have to eliminate salt from your diet, but the city is taking it out of school food, making the food even more bland and boring, then wondering why kids are running to chips and cookies whenever they have the chance.

    I realize that a lot of this stuff is decided at the local level, but if there was money available and a policy to point to, it would be harder for some teachers and leaders who are stuck in old ways of thinking (often getting pressure from parents who, frankly, don’t know what the hell they’re talking about) to continue with policies that make no sense and don’t work.

  3. NY could not have chosen anyone more perfect for this conference. You are passionate about improving the state of education and you are an advocate. I can’t wait to read your tweets, posts and follow-up.

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