A few weeks ago I taped a short 3-minute motivational speech for the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Every Monday, they have different speaker’s record messages that they send out to their 30,000 or so members.
During my little talk I discussed my experiences with both Teach For America and the Olympics to share a message that you don’t have to be perfect to achieve big things, you just have to have measurable big goals.
On Saturday, the Midtown Marriot in NYC hosted the Teach For America Alumni Summit which brought together close to 1,000 alumni from the Teach For America program. It was a gathering of teachers, school leaders, politicians and others who are dedicated to fighting the great problem of educational inequality for our country’s poor. Some of my heroes spoke including TFA founder Wendy Kopp, KIPP founder David Levine, School Superintendent Cami Anderson as well as Chancellor Joel Klein who is slowly but surely bringing accountability and structure to the NYC school system addressed the assembled to share and celebrate progress, share lessons learned and inspire continued effort.
It’s always good to re-connect with old friends and feel inspired about the incredible efforts of so many to close the gap in student learning that exists in our country. My favorite moment was Cami Anderson’s talking about how “good ideas are a dime a dozen,” but what really creates change is people’s getting in there and doing the hard work. While DC Schools Chancelor and TFA Alum Michelle Rhee was not in attendance, her name wasn’t far from everyone’s lips, as she is fighting to change teacher tenure rules in DC so that failing teachers cannot simply remain in their jobs because they have been there for a long time.