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Putting the N in NBPTS

I've been struck by the sheer size of our nation today, the complexity and diversity of the United States. I've been talking with people from every region of the country, from Hawaii to Maine, Florida to California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama, and the list goes on. And what really stood out this afternoon was how different our situations are.

Our states vary significantly in terms of the structure and funding of education, and how teachers and students are assessed. In some states teachers are unionized, and in some they're not, and the mythical "union" position on any given issue dissolves when you find out that certain state associations participate in activities that are actively resisted elsewhere. Certain states seem to have everything figured out in one area of education, until you find out things are a mess in some other area.

The lesson I take away from that is never to assume I know it all, and never to assume that anything is impossible. For teacher leaders out there, if you can imagine it, it's probably happening somewhere. Working conditions and organizational structures become so entrenched they seem like they've always been there and always will be - but there are other ways. Change is possible. Change happens. So develop your network, expand your outreach and your vision, and find out what you need to know to make a difference in your state or in your school.

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