I never received the t-shirt I ordered from ED in ’08, but I’m holding out for ED in ’10.
I’ve been imagining what their $60 million campaign would look like if instead of trying to compete with all the storylines of the current presidential campaign, they divided this investment among 10 major metro markets during a non-presidential election year. A $6 million ED in ’10 campaign in D.C. would counter the misunderstanding, misinformation, and resistance standing in the way of improving education (and think of the collateral influence it would have on the multitude of national policymakers who live and work here.)
A case in point– despite the fact that charter schools serve 30% of the public school population in the District of Columbia, I’ve found that most people here don’t understand what a charter school is.
The local organization FOCUS recently commissioned an independent poll about charter schools. The results: 49% of District residents favor charter schools, 19% oppose them, and 32% aren’t sure.
When polling interviewers provided respondents with the following definition of a charter school, favorable responses jumped from 49% to 64%:
Charter schools are tuition-free public autonomous schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative in exchange for increased accountability for improving student achievement.
Public charter schools are not an issue for ED in ’08, but this is powerful example of how a nonpartisan public awareness and action campaign to strengthen education would impact public views in a major metro market.
– Guestblogger Michael Robbins