I’m an education junkie – so the opportunity to shoot photos of Unitied States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was just plain awesome. Gizmo buddy Keith Walberg and I shot photos and video for Scholastic Magazine to capture Duncan’s “Eduacation Drives America” bus tour. The tour made two stops in Kansas – at the Brown v. Board of Eduation National Historic Site in Topeka and the National Teacher Hall of Fame at Emproria State University.
The day started with an inspired performance by Topeka High Drum Line and a charming redention of “Home on the Range” by the Williams Science and Fine Arts Magnet School choir. The best speech of the day was deliverd by Highland Park High School Principal Beryl New, who has dramtically raised achievement levels with the help of a federal grant. She is an amazing educator who truly understands the challenges of educating kids today.
It was so inspiring to see kids and educators and community leaders so excited about the future of education in America. Kids were mobbing Secretary Duncan for autographs. How cool is that? But, if you’re at any event in Topeka – the ignorant Phelps crowd makes an appearance. They are the comical face of the unfortunate evolution of Kansas. It’s depressing that Kansas, once a champion of education equality and inspired thinking, has slid to such a backward, crazy-right place. It’s discouraging. And frankly, embarrassing.
My dad was a high school math teacher in a small Kansas town for 37 years. He could have done many things in life, but he chose be a teacher. He chose to make a difference. And he did for thousands and thousands of kids. He taught with conviction and compassion. He’s one of the best teachers I ever had. But teachers today face so many challenges and obstacles. It’s a different world. Secretary Duncan is an extremely smart guy who gets what’s going on in American education.
A strong economy and great education; those two things are inextricably linked. To somehow think we need less children in Head Start, we need higher class size, less after school programs, less arts and music and P.E., less access to Pell grants, that is mind-boggling to me. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Thoughtful words as we all consider who should lead our country. The “right’ is just plain wrong. I’m with Arne and President Obama and all of the incredible educators who work so hard to teach our kids.
It’s always great to (re)discover photos that you’ve shot but somehow forgotten about. Especially if the photos include a shot of George Takei dressed as a Boy Scout in the NCY Pride Parade. Needless to say, we don’t have parades like this in Kansas – so it was great fun shooting George and queens and big hair and the spectacle of it all.
I got to take a work/play road trip to NYC recently with Gizmo buddy Jeff Carson. Both of us are hopeless iPhone photo app geeks – and NYC is a playground for photo fun. While we shot a bazillion Hipstamatic frames and multiple iTimeLapse movies – our Pano app provided some of the best images from our trip. Most people use the Pano app to shoot horizontal panoramas, but the NYC architecture is perfect for vertical panoramas also. Here are a couple cool pics from Doug and Jeff.