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Beth Hawkins’ EDTalk; next up are Danez Smith, Ted Kolderie

When I started thinking about what I might say, I realized that I’ve ended up writing about schools during an extraordinary time.

Several weeks ago Your Humble Blogger had the privilege of delivering an EDTalk to a capacity house at the nightclub Honey. An EDTalk being a Ted Talk-like 20-minute spiel that I hope sparks thought and discussion among Twin Citians who are interested in schools and the people who populate them.

When I was first asked to talk about what it’s like to be an education reporter I was, to be honest, nonplussed. I love my job, but it’s not exactly “All the President’s Men.” But then I started thinking about what I might actually say, and I realized that serendipitously I’ve ended up writing about schools during an extraordinary time.

I won’t repeat the details of just how extraordinary because the fine folks at Twin Cities Public Television, one of EDTalks’ sponsors, have finished editing out the coughing fit I had in the middle of my remarks and you can now watch the embedded video and see for yourself.

If you like what you see, know that I had help from others, including MinnPosters: web editor Corey Anderson, staff writer James Nord and photographer Bill Kelley. If you don’t like it, well, there’s always the comments thread.

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Regardless what you think of my 20 minutes of limelight, I urge you to attend the next set of EDTalks, scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 18, from 12-1:30 p.m. (with doors opening at noon) on the swank rooftop at Solera, 900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Lunch will be provided and the teachers in the room may apply for CEUs.

The lineup looks amazing. Poet and educator Danez Smith will talk about “The Impact of Spoken Word on Youth and Education.” An international poetry slam champ, Smith is the student adviser for the First Wave Hip-Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

The other speaker is Ted Kolderie, who will talk about “Getting Rid of Adolescence.” I’m particularly pleased about this because now I can make it sound as though Kolderie, whom I admire, and I shared a playbill — if technically on different days. A senior associate at the nonpartisan policy and design group Education|Evolving, Kolderie is the free-thinker behind innumerable innovations in education and other realms.

I’ve heard Kolderie talk about his thoughts on the ways in which we as a society devalue adolescence and under-serve young people. And I can tell you this: There’s a good chance that along with lunch in the summer sun and some slammin’ spoken word you’ll have some of your bedrock assumptions about the world challenged.   

EDTalks is presented by AchieveMpls and The Citizens League in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, DRIVE Emerging Leaders and Young Education Professionals of the Twin Cities.