Time Magazine has named its picks for the top education activists to watch in 2012. So who are some of these potential movers and shakers (in no particular order)?
1. Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin: Two students who founded Students for Education Reform (SFER) in 2009, with the goal of mobilizing college students around the country to advocate for reform via the ballot. There are currently 71 chapters in 28 states, and is growing so fast that both Bellinger and Morin have taken a hiatus from their own studies to manage the non-profit.
2. Matt Damon: The actor is using his fame to talk about education policy issues. This is no surprise, as his mother is a teacher. The actor participated in the Save Our Schools March last spring, and recently refused to accept an award from the National Education Association (NEA) because the president of the organization wrote an op-ed with the Teach for America founder about teacher quality.
3. John Danner: A successful entrepreneur in online advertising who became a middle school teacher in the Nashville public schools and activist for education reform. He co-founded Rocketship Learning, a network of California public charters that rely heavily on technology to customize each student’s education. There are currently 5 schools in the network, with approval to establish another 20 in the San Jose area.
4. Aimee Guidera: President of the national Data Quality Campaign, she is widely credited for playing a key role in pushing states to improve their data systems and publicly holding them accountable for doing so. Her task for 2012 will be to help states expand from collecting quality data to using that data to inform decision-making at all levels.
5. John Hunter: An elementary school teacher from Virginia, in 1978 he designed the World Peace Game that allows 4th graders to play out various scenarios of global doom or cooperation, and has inspired both students and teachers. Likened to an “analog version of The Sims,” in terms of its physical design, a documentary, World Peace and Other Fourth-Grade Achievements, was created that charted the impact of the game. The movie has been screened at festivals across the country, as is projected to have wider distribution in 2012. Time blogger Andrew Rotherham notes that at a screening of the film he moderated last year, many in the audience were touched and “moved to tears.”
To see who else is on the list, please visit http://ideas.time.com/2012/01/13/school-of-thought-12-education-activists-for-2012/