Years ago, with the state in the midst of what was then the latest education crisis, California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown convened a big-deal “Education Summit.” he invited scores of experts from all over the country (off the top of my head, I most remember Marian Wright Edelman and Robert Reich, who was still Clinton’s Labor Secretary) and representatives of every group concerned even the slightest with education: teachers, school boards, unions, private and parochial school administrators, parents, employers, financing experts, even a few cognitive scientists. (I attended as a representative of the HomeSchool Association of California.)
Essentially a giant photo op, there were lots of lights and cameras and reporters, corporate-sponsored lunches and gift bags, and three solid days of talking and talking and talking . . . . But what I remember most is that, among the more than 1,000 people gathered, aside from the student member of the state board of education, and the representatives of the high school student body president association and the college student body president association, there were no other students of any age there–no representatives of the people to whom all this effort and concern was ostensibly aimed.
So nearly two decades later, I can’t say I’m surprised at any surprise at this: