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ELECTION: Happy, Realistic, Purposeful

Barack Obama's election as President has made a lot of people

understandably very happy. A change of parties in control of the

executive branch. A new generation of leadership in the White House.

The first African-American president-elect. Lots of new opportunities

for work. If my meds didn't prevent me from experiencing strong

emotions, I'd be happy too.

But there's a reason that -- did you notice? -- Obama was hopeful but not exhultant last night during his acceptance speech.

In education, for example, no one has presented a realistic path by

which education issues become any more of a priority (or a reality)

than they were 24 hours ago. Don't let anyone tell you they have, or

dangle shiny plans in front of you without explaining how they get

enacted. With the campaign done, it's clear that much of what was

promised cannot and will not happen anytime soon. The economy is such a

mess and foreign relations needs immediate attention.

So let's not beat our heads against the wall about that, or pretend

things are going to happen when they're not. Instead, how about

focusing on smaller, lower-cost things that could still have a

tremendous impact on improving schools: viral philanthropy like

Nothing But Nets, better research so we know what we're doing before we

jump into things (again), open-source alternatives to costly software

applications, community engagement efforts (parents union, anyone?).

I think there's lots of good things to be done in education during

the next four years. Just probably not many of the things that people

are talking about now.

Filed under: Campaigns & Clout

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