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"Change We Celebrated Together" At The DNC

If you couldn’t tell from our incessant tweeting and Facebook posts, DFER was out in full force at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last week. Our army of staff and supporters descended upon the city with one goal in mind: highlight the groundbreaking work that President Obama and Democrats nationwide have led to reform K-12 public education.

We joined partner organizations Parent Revolution and StudentsFirst in hosting a screening of the upcoming feature film “Won’t Back Down.” Whether you like the Maggie Gyllenhaal flick or not, the film kicked off a great conversation about the role of the public in public education. While fiction, the film showcased what can happen when a committed group of parents, teachers, and community members decides that their children and students deserve better. A panel discussion following the film was introduced by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a former teacher union organizer who has pushed hard for change in his city’s struggling public schools.

On Tuesday we hosted a discussion that brought together a surprising array of panelists including ed reformers and innovators, elected officials, and union leaders. (See photos here.)

The event kicked off with this inspiring video featuring Democrats for Education Reform champions (DFERs) throughout the country:

After the video, Joe Williams, DFER’s Executive Director, introduced the first panel - a panel so filled with quotable education advocates that it could only be described as the most tweetable 50 minutes of the day.

The discussion had everyone on the edge of their seats - due, in part, to several passionate speeches from state electeds expressing the need for unions to support education reforms. (See here.) It may have been our second panel, however, that raised the most eyebrows by including union leaders Randi Weingarten (AFT) and Dennis Van Roekel (NEA) at the same table as reformers. (See here.) These leaders joined entrepreneurs for a free-wheeling discussion of blended learning, eduation innovation, and what the future will mean for public education (and collective bargaining.)

Later, DFER celebrated its 5th Anniversary on the rooftop pavilion of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture. The event featured a live bluegrass band, rooftop views of the city, politicians, personalities, and pundits. If you missed it, check out photographs of the event on our Facebook page.

At events throughout the convention, we, along with many ed reform supporters, proudly wore buttons proclaiming, “I’m a DFER” - a proclamation we hope many will take home with them.

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Click here to download DFER's Post-Convention Snapshot.

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