A Little Zing Goes a Long Way

Ifanyi Bell has been a classroom teacher, a filmmaker, and currently develops and produces educational media for web-based, digital asset repositories at KQED.

By Ifanyi Bell

The U.S. Department of Education just launched an interesting, eye-catching new website, Teach.gov, intended to spearhead the department’s push to support the teaching profession. All it took was a single glance for my brain to be set simultaneously at ease and to be titillated. Was this a government website? With Flash? And color? And Oprah?

This is exactly the kind of initiative that the DOE needs to undertake in order to make itself more present as an organization. It’s a simple idea: Be more visible. Make a statement about the vision of education in America. Be an accessible source of support and guidance for our nations' educators, and those aspiring to the task. Use the color orange.

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In an administration that has hung its hat on the concept of change, it behooves our representatives and leaders to better manage the education brand. Having been an educator working in Boston Public Schools, it was easy to recognize the inconsistency of vision and motivation among school administrators, teachers and parents.

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In an environment where there are myriad stakeholders, perspectives and needs, what we need now is for the leaders of our educational system to lead with a distinctive presence. An initiative to let educators across the nation know that regardless of their perspective, or their diverse ideas about how to teach, that they are not alone out there fighting for the minds of our youth against materialism, violence, racism, shrinking budgets, sexism, homophobia and video games. This might just be that voice.

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