In October 2013 during the government shutdown I began meeting with friends and neighbors locally about a run for the US House seat in Ohio's District 8. By October 24, 2013, I was in the race. By March 2014 we had a staff in place and a campaign. We lost the election, but I made many, many new friends on the campaign trail. We gave the citizens of District 8 a choice at the polls. I am beginning my next book on the subject of running for congress, an insider's view of the perils and joys and learnings from such an undertaking. Look for an announcement about that in late 2016.
As a response to many teachers who had contacted me about what next steps might be in terms of resisting the reform movement, I started the Teacher Resistance and Action Network (TRAAN, at www.traan.weebly.com). We had our first meeting in Spring of 2013. I would like to re-energize and re-engage the group in 2016.
In February 2012 I was contacted by activists in the OPT OUT NATIONAL MOVEMENT, an organization focused on the strategy of opting out of high stakes testing as a means of resistance to the standardization regime and as a means for making the tests even more meaningless than they already are. Visit United Opt Out National's Website at http://www.unitedoptout.com Several of the organizers were reading my book The Education of Sam Sanders, which is a story I started working on as a piece of scholarly activism in 2001 and that was published as a complete novel in 2006 by Hamilton Books. The book is a futuristic novel set in 2029 about a student, Sam Sanders, who leads a walkout of the state test and a subsequent revolution of public education, reclaiming a more progressive approach to educating each citizen equitably and well. I was subsequently invited by the organizers of the OCCUPY DOE event, sponsored by OPT OUT NATIONAL, to speak on LBJ Plaza along with other citizen activists about the dangers of the corporate takeover of public education and the possibilities of opting out of the current testing regime. Below are several documents and multimedia items from that event in 2012. I am indebted to the many committed education activists and public school supporters that I met and continue to work with for their energy, insight, and hopeful resistance.
I attended the second Occupy the DOE 2.0 event in DC, April 4-7, 2013. Below you can access my talk on LBJ Plaza on Sunday morning, April 7, 2013. Just move the video timer to 1:12 (that's an hour and 12 minutes into the recording). Morna McDermott from Towson introduces me, and the talk is just short of 20 minutes in length. Here is a working text of my speech entitled "You can run, but you can't hide":
Also, you can view many of the other great speakers at the event by viewing the entire portion of the live stream tape here. And you can also go to Vincent Precht's live stream site to view other speeches from the entire weekend event. Go to http://www.livestream.com/califather
Here are the notes on my talk about Sam Sanders delivered at United Opt Out National's first Occupy the DOE event in March 2012:
I also had the good fortune of meeting Tim Slekar (Penn State, now Dean at Edgewood College in Wisconsin) and Shaun Johnson (Towson) at Occupy the DOE in 2012. They have a progressive education talk show called @TheChalkFace. They interviewed me in Washington. Download and listen to the interview about my novel, The Education of Sam Sanders, here (the interview is in two parts, each around 12 minutes long): /uploads/9/5/8/7/9587563/chalkface_1.mp3