It's been a great week for those of us who base our reading lists and talking points on Oprah. Because now it's official. Education is an Important Issue. On yesterday's show, Bill Gates, along with Davis Guggenheim, director of the new documentary Waiting for Superman, were on hand to describe "the shocking state of our schools."
NBC also has plans for a series on the subject -- Education Nation -- scheduled to run next week. Clearly, we need to be talking about education. We need to talk to industry leaders and corporate execs like Gates. We need to talk to filmmakers like Guggenheim. We can chat with politicos and pundits. But teachers and parents? Apparently, not so much. (Among the 30 some-odd panelists participating in Education Nation, there is one rep from a teachers' union and two from parents' organizations.)
I am, of course, happy to see education become the subject of national conversation. But I do want to point out the power structures that impact who gets invited to speak on film, on TV, in print. (The latter is something I wrestle with when I select and frame stories about ed-tech.) I've seen a lot of folks clamoring to speak "to the media" about education in the last week or so, and honestly in some cases I'm suspicious that it's more about "media" than "conversation" -- and definitely more about "media" than education.