#5 – I have skin in the game
My two kids have propelled me to countless games, school activities, and volunteer gigs over the years, providing frequent reality checks on the impact of policy on real classrooms and lives. Who knew, for example, that playing a varsity sport doesn’t “count” for p.e. credit? My kids also show that it’s possible to get a quality education in our city’s traditional and public charter schools. One now is studying to be a middle school teacher – a career path she chose because of her phenomenal 8th grade teachers. The other just graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School and is studying engineering, an interest acquired doing science-fair projects at Alice Deal Middle School.
#4 – I know my stuff
I’m an award-winning journalist who has covered education for more than a decade, first at U.S. News & World Report, now at the American Society for Engineering Education’s Prism magazine, where I report on science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) education. I read research reports on learning and brain science. I attend local and national education conferences. Show me a meaty longitudinal study of student achievement or data on enrollment trends and I’m a happy camper! I subscribe to Education Week and keep abreast of trends in teaching practice and education policy, and thus can distinguish a fad from promising innovation. Most of all, though, I listen to the public–students, teachers, administrators, parents, community groups, experts, physicians, and others–for how to move things forward.
My work as a journalist and as a State Board member has taken me into schools all over the city to talk to students, judge senior projects, observe innovative programs, and attend community meetings, parent-teacher conferences, science fairs, plays, fundraisers, soccer games, and a host of other activities. I have participated in working groups with city education leaders, including the Deputy Mayor and staff, three State Superintendents of Education, DCPS officials and classroom educators, and charter school principals and teachers. I also am a member of the DC Science Teachers Association and helped save the citywide DC Science and Engineering Fair (Intel International Science & Engineering Fair) when a central office reorganization abolished the science, math, English, and social studies departments and eliminated the person who had registered DC with the Intel organizers every year!
The District of Columbia may not have a voice in Congress. But we have a top seat at the national education policy table through my election to the Board of Directors of NASBE, the National Association of State Boards of Education. This group of state education leaders has worked with legislators and the U.S. Department of Education, including Secretary Arne Duncan, to shape such major initiatives as No Child Left Behind waivers. (Photo: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan with NASBE executive director Brenda Wellburn, second from left.)
#1 – And the top reason to vote for Mary Lord Nov. 6 is because…
I work hard and get results for real students, teachers, and schools, and of course for YOU.
Photo: Wilson High School physics teacher flanked by her 2011 citywide U.S. Dept. of Energy Science Bowl Champions