Reform Groups Meet In Minn.

If I wasn’t headed to my high school reunion I’d probably be skulking around the annual PIE Network conference being held this year in Minneapolis (and for the first time seeking public attention).  Read below for what they’re up to, why I think they’re interesting, and what I think they’re still missing.  

PIE is a fascinating creation, made up as it is of new and old state advocacy groups and born from five Washington DC think tanks who realized that their papers and pontifications weren’t having much effect out in the real world (much less on Capitol Hill, which they continue to treat as a grimy cousin).

As you can see from the agenda, the event will include speakers familiar (Mike Johnston, Don Shalvey) and not so much (Jamie Woodson, Tennessee SCORE, Anthony Kim, Education Elements). Along with lots of foundation and advocacy group folks, there’s even going to be an NEA member there (Maddie Fennel, NEA).

They’re going to talk about the growing role of states in the NCLB waiver era, turnarounds in the post-SIG era, and charter school quality.  Once again, Rick Hess will be doing his standup act.

All in all, pretty standard, wonky policy stuff.  Somewhat disappointingly, there’s no Dirty Tricks Workshop on the official agenda, nothing about How to Hack the Speaker’s iPhone.

Interestingly, there is a panel about engaging teachers in reform, but nothing about the breakout ed reform issue of 2012, parent empowerment, or about the breakout issue of the last three years, social media. Yet another indication that the reform movement doesn’t really know what to do with the parent trigger, as I see it, and might not be ready or willing to slog it out in the social media ground game, either. (Or perhaps it’s a wise decision, focusing on teachers for now and then building up the larger parent advocacy capacity.)

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