Dear Department of Education Press Secretaries

Posted by on Feb 24, 2010

Justin and Sandra,

First of all, let me applaud you and your efforts to engage and inform through the use of Twitter.  There are many government entities who are not willing to do so.

Let me also encourage you to actually engage and not just inform.  You will certainly find a host of passionate, candid individuals in this space, as you’ve no doubt already encountered.  They may well offer you more than you bargained for when you created your account.  Understand these are people who believe passionately in students, their possibilities, their potential, their ability, and their education.  And many of them are frustrated with the present state of education.  As frustrated as you likely are based on your recent tweets.  You’ve now provided them an outlet to unload their frustration.

I hope you will stay around.  I hope you will respond to the questions, the challenges, and even some of the pointed criticisms.  We don’t get enough of that from our government officials.  You have an opportunity to help remedy that.  I hope you actualize this opportunity.

I would also offer this one last piece of unsolicited advice.  Be careful of your words.  I know that is your profession, and that is why you work where you do, but I still offer the advice all the same.  When you make statements like, “we need to stop lying to students” you step upon very uneven and potentially damaging ground.  Because the statement immediately begets the question, “who are the we that are doing the lying?”  Are you insinuating that you are lying to students?  Are teachers lying to students?  Are administrators lying to students?  Are parents lying to students?  Are we all lying to students?  That’s a tough way to begin a constructive dialog.  Especially given the history of honesty from our politicians.  So please, weigh your words and expect them to elicit a very real, genuine reaction from the community.  If you want that reaction to be constructive, I’d encourage you to frame the questions and statements in a more measured manner.

I honestly appreciate your presence here.  I look forward to seeing what you do with it.


You can find the official twitter page for the Department of Education Press Secretaries at

Thanks to Star Dust for the use of the Flickr image.


  1. Raymond Johnson
    February 24, 2010

    Well said!

  2. Ben Wildeboer
    February 24, 2010

    You captured my own less-well-formulated thoughts in regards to the “lying to students” statement. I’m glad the Dept. of Education has a twitter presence that seems to have real, interactive people behind the keyboard. I do hope the engagement with the passionate community they find via Twitter enlightening.

  3. Chris Lehmann
    February 27, 2010

    Sadly, I think they (and Duncan, whose words they were echoing) were very careful with their words. I’m not as charitable as you. I think there is a deliberate attempt to erode confidence in public education so that it is easier to destroy.

  4. Ben Grey
    February 27, 2010

    Thanks, Raymond.

    Ben- It seems they have a real opportunity to engage in some meaningful discussions through this medium. For some reason, I really get the feeling that we won’t get that, but rather, more of the same political rhetoric that we typically get from Washington. A real shame.

    Chris- It’s interesting that they would take this approach. Seems to me this would be an excellent opportunity to actually explain and provide meaningful support for their positions. I’ve yet to hear a really solid explanation or rationale for the statements and positions being posited from Washington. You would hope that having a new medium like this with which to truly inform and dialog with constituents would provide them with the opportunity to do what they haven’t been able to do in the past. Actually move change through constructive conversations. I have a feeling that it will go more the way you’ve described it.

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    December 22, 2012

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