Later this evening, I may take some time to describe my fellowship. I've indicated the education policy meets The Real World nature of our living arrangements, but the work itself begins today.
Yesterday we went to the Foundation for an orientation of sorts. Almost everyone here is a Teach for America alum, as were our guest speakers. As such, the Foundation people were really focused on how the alums translated their classroom experience to education policy. I'm the first person to acknowledge that teachers in struggling schools provide a vital perspective to the field, but I don't know that "translating" that experience to policy analysis and evaluation means everything the foundation wants it to mean.
I think that all policy people should have an on-the-ground knowledge of the policy area they are trying to impact, and the richer that knowledge and experience, the better. But I doubt there's a template for the application of this knowledge to policy development. Policy development, analysis and evaluation are a different skillset. Increasing the capacity of teachers in these arenas, while encouraging them to maintain an interest in the implementation level issues, is where the strength of this program lies, in my opinion.
It will be interesting to see how things play out on our official blog, which will be advertised around the ed policy community. We've been asked to post several times per week. As a veteran blogger, I don't anticipate great difficulty in meeting this requirement, but I am a bit nervous about all the other edubloggers reading it on a regular basis, and do hope that my fellow fellows are good about posting as well.