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The Power of Positive Energy

October 9, 2009

Ever have one of those meetings where you just “connect” with another like-minded individual and it just helps validate what you’ve been doing?  I had the amazing pleasure of having coffee yesterday with Liv Finne, the Director of the Center for Education for the Washington Policy Center.  Now, I’d had the opportunity to meet Liv before — first at the launch of Scott Oki’s book, “Outrageous Learning” (I’m sworn to secrecy on the circumstances of that first meeting), and a few short weeks later at the AWSP/WASA Summer Conference in Olympia, WA.

Liv is another no-nonsense, “where is the practicality in the solution?” kind of person.  She is highly passionate about helping our education system become what it needs to be to better serve the children and the families in the State of Washington. And, this is one of the things I respect so much about her: for her, it IS about the kids.  It’s not about agendas, about “feel goods” or (as I call them) “dere dere’s” (i.e., ” ‘dere ‘dere, why don’t we talk about HOW we FEEL  when someone slams us up against our locker because they don’t like the color we chose to wear this morning? Maybe if we talked about how the color grey was a problem for the bully, we could understand why this reaction took place.”)

Liv, (pronouced “LEEV” just like “Corinne” is “CoREEN”) is highly motivated to cut to the chase about what works in education and doesn’t — and WON’T.  I appreciate that, because, as I explained to her in our meeting, I have this nasty habit of examining every “solution” or proposal in light of the annoying question, “Ok, but what problem are we trying to SOLVE? And, how will this get us closer to our goal?”

I’m excited.  I like organizations like the Washington Policy Center who, instead of just falling into predicatable rhetoric and prognostication, actually examine FACTS to reach their conclusions. They really approach issues with an eye toward common sense: what’s real here, what’s not, what’s practical, what’s sustainable?

There’s too much buy-in happening along party lines and popular opinion these days.  I can’t say how the conclusions and and recommendatons of the Washington Policy Center will weigh in against those areas, but based on what I’ve seen so far, their direction seems to make SENSE.

Which is a rare commodity these days, if you ask me.  Common sense is altogether uncommon, and frequently isn’t sensible.

BTW…if you’re interested in checking out Liv’s blog on education issues you can find it at:  If you’re a Washingtonian with any interest in what’s going on (really!) in education, I encourage you to check it out.  Heck…it’s probably even valuable and relevant to folks outside the Emerald State, too, ’cause chances are the same litanies are being recited in your state — that’s been MY experience at least.  Repeat after me…”underfunded, classes too large, teachers need more pay…”  (heavy sigh)

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