Joan Baratz Snowden passed earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Joan was a fixture at the AFT for more than a decade, helped get NBPTS going, and was a presence on the ed scene in Washington.
But those are resume items. More importantly she was a lot of fun, intense, not shy to fight, interesting to talk with, and one of those people you always learn something from. I remember once in response to something I said she responded that I must read Wittgenstein’s Poker, an episode I was vaguely aware of but an account I’d never read. She always had gems like that, read broadly and liked ideas but also liked action.
She was also full of her own big ideas about education and frustrated with the pace of progress and micro focus of so much of our sector’s work given the scale of our problems. Righteous in her politics in the good sense of that term she was not a reflexive partisan or a reactionary – rather an independent thinker of the kind we need more of.