Ok. So the Senator Alexander call starts. It’s gonna be 20 minutes long. (Hmmm…) Eight or so other “education” bloggers on the line. He’s a nice guy. Says he doesn’t want to make any speeches. Then makes a speech. A short one though. Not bad. We need to compete. Math Science. NCLB. Somebody asks a question. It’s about the bill. Something about money spent on teacher retention in the US. Great question, the senator says. Answers something about rewarding good teachers who have good students. Paying them more. Other stuff. Silence. I jump in (what the heck.) I’m a 21-year pub school educator and have been writing about this stuff for six years on my blog, I say. He says well you know more than I do about this stuff and chuckles. I say look, no real question here just two points. (My 90 second conference call pitch…been working on it.) First, in a world where we can learn anything, anywhere, anytime, we need every kid connected to the Internet. Second, we’re going to be throwing good money after bad on all this if we don’t start having a conversation about learning, not more content and skills. (It was a little better than that, I think.) Great points, he says. (A pattern is emerging.) Says the problem is that we’re not spending enough money on professional development (huh?) and that our teachers don’t know the technology. He finishes, and I about lose my lunch as the next person (who I won’t identify for fear of, um, something I can’t imagine at the moment) launches into this, this, this hair raising run-on sentence about how ya know, technology this and technology that is all a bunch of bunk and we’re getting all excited about these 21st Century Skills when what we really need are kids who can multiply 6 x 4. (Ok. I swear. I’m not making this up.) That we gotta get over this technology thing, and we better get back to teachin’ kids what they need to know. The senator says, well, actually he doesn’t say great point but he makes some other disarming comment before the next “education” blogger chimes in with a question about whether or not social studies will be made a part of NCLB. At this point, I feel whatever hope I had for all of this slipping away real fast. There is then something about the bill’s passage in the Senate, a follow up asking for a social studies test, something else…all great question, ifyaknowwhatImean. Scott McLeod who is also on the call, (and has a list of the “education” bloggers on his site) says that the bill is basically useless because there is no attention to supporting and training school leaders (and Scott, if you read this, please feel free to be much more lucid about your question than I am being here…my brain was hurting at the time.) Another basic non answer answer and mercifully the staffer who set up the call chimes in and says time’s up.