A year ago I went to the New Parrish in Oakland to see Dave Chappelle. Contrary to popular belief Chappelle is an unorthodox, unpredictable and very intelligent comedian. He has this incredible ability to move seamlessly between a comedy routine and a real and well articulated explanation of serious world issues. OK, let me fast forward to my point, as this isn’t a post about Dave Chappelle. During his performance he said something that has always stayed with me. While discussing politics he said, (and I’m paraphrasing) “that a person has to be extremely firm in their beliefs and understanding of the world because we live in the age of spin.”
I remember this quote every time I speak to my close friends about education. Most of them are intelligent, educated, and professional. Seriously, I am amazed at how many close personal friends I have who are ballers. I’m also amazed at how confused they are over our current education system. Like many Americans they read the Times article about Michele Rhee and got inspired by her willingness to fire a bunch of supposedly bad teachers. This move by Rhee was later deemed illegal. Most of them watched Waiting for Superman where they learned three things that were buried into the heads of the audience: charter schools are great, teacher unions are modern day mafias, and do everything just like Geoffrey Canada.
Trying to burn away the cobwebs for folks is tiring. Generally, you have anywhere between 5-10 minutes to say something that is more attractive than the messages they have received from CNN, Fox, President Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and the aforementioned Rhee, Canada and Davis Guggenheim’s documentary. But, I stumbled on some excellent videos from the Save Our Schools March, videos of folks who are much more articulate and charismatic than I am. I’ll post a few this week starting with two videos of actor — and son of a public school teacher — Matt Damon who gave a great speech and hilarious interview this last weekend.
Matt Damon’s speech at the Save Our Schools March in Washington DC
Matt Damon makes me feel like I need to work a little better on my elevator speech.