This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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visual artifacts speak louder than words

Thoughts following the May 19th Arts Learning Leadership Retreat: Envision Our Future at Jefferson Elementary School, San Leandro

While words tumble onto a page it is often the image that sticks. While spending time this year as an arts coach at Jefferson I have been thinking about various visual ways to quantify the experiences of classroom teachers. I have been actively watching the new ways to visualize data that more accurately portray habits and opinions. These newer graphics leave pie charts in the dust. Check out flowing data. I wonder if anyone else has compelling ideas that should be matched with a visual graphic that would help people understand our frustrations and our experiences.

This graphic question for me returns to the very elemental question:

What do we want parents, administrators, school boards, politicians and community members to understand?

What is the best way to convey the experience of a class size of 25 vs. 30 vs. 35?

What is the best way to convey the balance between learning and crowd control?

What is the best way to convey why teaching to the test is not a rigorous practice?

What is the best way to convey why underfunding our public schools is an expensive mistake?

What is the best way to convey why schools in urban and low-income neighborhoods need financial support to provide learning environments equivalent to those in affluent neighborhoods where fund-raising and grant writing are common practice?

What is the best way to convey why alternative assessment methods are essential?

What is the best way to convey why consistent funding is a required necessity?

What is the best way to convey why teachers receiving pink slips do not feel valued?

What is the best way to convey the social stressors experienced by teachers in low income urban settings?

What is the best way to convey the number of hours a teacher works before and after classroom hours?

I can crack the ice on some of these big ideas but not all. I have made a quick pdf document that fits with a few that you can photocopy onto card stock and send in multiples as postcards to everyone important. I am sure there are some indignant students who could work up more images to add to our archive of  print and send this… activism

It is a well known fact that a postcard holds greater policy currency than a group sourced click to forward email. It is worth a try to go old school snail mail. Here is my pdf with 4 postcard / comment options

4 postcards – Advocacy