Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Act II: Hello, teachers? This is Arne Duncan.

By on May 26, 2010

In my last post, I wrote the following:

There is definitely a common theme among them all: disappointment. But there’s another common theme as well: hope. We hope this is the start of something. We hope that the door remains cracked open. We hope that our voices can one day be joined with others in offering suggestions, not in asking questions.

Well, it seems that in light of the evidence from the last 24 hours, Arne Duncan and the DOE felt disappointment too and reached out to us in what can only be defined as hope after a very awkward call for us all.

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang in two classrooms in two different parts of the country: one in California and one in Kansas. And the voice on the other line introduced himself as Arne Duncan. Anthony Cody (read his account of the conversation here) and Marsha Ratzel (read her really beautiful beat-for-beat post here), two educators who have been the executive producers of our recent campaign to get teachers to the policy table, both spoke to Duncan who apologized for uncomfortable and technologically strained call.

He went on to ask about their experiences, he sought input about some key issues, and insisted that he was interested in this being the beginning of a conversation with our group, not the end of one.

We are still at the table, fellow teachers. And it is clear that we have both parties trying to make this dialog work. Sometimes it feels like a Tower of Babel, yes, with two groups trying to speak the same language, but maybe the disappointment of an awkward call becomes our Rosetta Stone.

It is clear that the door is not closed. In fact, it has creaked open ever wider.

I will, of course, update you as I learn more.

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