Saturday, April 5, 2014

50,000 Russ on Reading Fans Can’t Be Wrong

Back in 1959, at the age of 12, I bought my first Elvis Presley record album (that’s vinyl for my younger readers). Its title: Elvis Presley’s Greatest Hits: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Ten years later, both my politics and my musical tastes had changed and I bought a folk album entitled, Phil Ochs Greatest Hits: 50 Phil Ochs Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Obviously, Phil was having some fun with Elvis’s title and with his own relative obscurity. Also obviously, I am a sucker for greatest hits collections (although Phil’s didn’t include any hits. Another Phil joke.).

I am thinking of this today because this blog has just achieved 50,000 hits. This has me extraordinarily pleased, even as I realize that public education hero, Diane Ravitch, gets more hits than that in one day on her blog. Let me just say I will be very happy to play Phil Ochs to Diane’s Elvis.

I started the blog in earnest a little less than one year ago today. Originally, the blog was aimed as a way to continue the conversation I had been having with teachers over the 45 years I had been in public education. Eventually, the blog began to tilt toward the defense of public education as I became more and more aware of the war on teachers, parents and school children being waged by the corporate education reform movement.

I would like to thank every reader who has ever stopped by this blog to check out a posting, who has left a comment or who has clicked a Facebook “Like” button. There are a few early champions of the blog to whom I owe special thanks. First is Erica Spence-Umstead, friend, compatriot, outstanding educator and the person who turned me on to Diane Ravitch’s blog and changed Russ on Reading forever. I would also like to thank Jo Marley, extraordinary Philadelphia teacher and leader of the Pennsylvania Badass Teachers, for her early and consistent support. Turns out Jo and I grew up less than a mile from each other at about the same time, but still have not met to this day. Then there is Laura Gibbs, professor at the University of Oklahoma and prolific Google+ participant, who was my first Google+ reader and has helped me find an audience on that social media site.

Thanks also to the wonderful Jonathan Pelto, who writes the Wait, What blog, and who invited me to join the Education Bloggers Network, which he organized, introduced me to the world of the other bloggers defending public education and got me invited to participate in the first Network for Public Education conference in Austin, TX last month. His help has been invaluable. Thanks also to all my fellow education bloggers for there inspiration, advice and kind words.

Finally, thanks to Diane Ravitch, hero of all of us fighting the battle against the corporate interests, passionate voice who inspires us all and who provides me with the occasional “Ravitch Bump”, when she picks up one of my posts and shares it with her vast network of followers.

I promise to keep up the fight and I am so glad to have you along for the ride. Now in the tradition of Elvis and Phil, let me end this with a few Russ on Reading greatest hits. Here are some of my most popular posts from the last year. Thanks and thanks again.

Are America’s Toddlers College and Career Ready?
The Seven Blind Mice of Education Reform
Does Background Knowledge Matter to Reading Comprehension?
The Common Core in English/Language Arts: A Critically Literate Reading
The Common Core Goes to Kindergarten
Could the Common Core Widen the Achievement Gap