July 24, 2024

High Praise Indeed

To quote the great 20th Century philosopher, Rodney Dangerfield, sometimes “it’s not easy being me.” I find it exhausting being the contrarian at many events because it prevents me from presenting the complete range of what I have to offer. My late friend, Stephen Marcus, once called me “The master of negative space.” I was honored since he was a man of great intellect, wit and integrity who recognized my ability to see what’s missing in a situation.

What we do matters. I’m not a linoleum salesman. I work to make the world a better place for children. If I have to be the bad guy who busts through the meaningless clichés and happy-talk, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

I would do anything for Chris Lehmann, so I was happy to be on his Educon 2.1 panel, “What Does School Reform Look Like?” even if there was an expectation that my head might explode. I decided to offer a positive view of what school reform could look like despite my Twitter pal, Andy Carvin’s, asking me to weigh-in on the politics of public education. (I’ll post my view of school reform in the near future)

Despite all of this, many people thought I made an important contribution to the discussion.

David Warlick wrote the following on his blog, Should it Matter?:

However, there were two elements of the panel’s conversation that — quicken my heart. One was Gary Stager’s opening and the list of what he believes — and just about everything else he said. I was especially taken with his demand that reform needs to happen locally. I didn’t realize the importance of this statement until a conversation that I had with Steve Hargadon at the end of the day. Stager questions a lot of what I say and write, and I learn from his challenges, but he sees the evils of what has happened to education during the past several years, and he hammers it ruthlessly — and I thank him.

Thank you for your kind words, David!