Exponential Impact


In any given year, an elementary classroom teacher might teach 25 students. Over the course of a 20 year career he or she may have taught 500 children. For a high school teacher that number could be 75 students a year, or 1500 students over a 20 year career. Exponentially, that is quite an impact to have.

A teacher educator may teach 25 students a semester, 50 students a year. But each of those teachers will then teach 25 students (or 75 h.s. students) a year. At the end of the year, that’s 1250 students (or 1875 h.s. students) impacted by 25 teachers. The exponential impact each teacher has grows far and wide, especially over the course of a long career.

What if this exponential impact could be applied in other ways? Consider the impact social media has on the way information is disseminated-real and fake. No doubt that has an impact. What if each of us passed a message along to 4 people, could there be an impact?

Public education is the foundation of our democracy, and every child has the right to a high-stakes, high-standards, and high-quality education. Public education is where this impact begins. The impact of good teachers can be seen in our economy, health care, and welfare systems- to name a few.

An email from the Network for Public Education this morning encouraged me to call my senators and ask them to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. There were even two sample scripts included: (if you live in NJ, click on the link to the page here at the bottom of the page, a few other states are linked).

Script 1
My name is xxxx and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
I believe in my community’s public schools. Betsy DeVos believes in school privatization and vouchers. She has worked to undermine efforts to regulate Michigan charters, even when they clearly fail. The “marketplace” solution of DeVos will destroy our democratically governed community schools. Her hostility towards public schools disqualifies her. I am asking the Senator to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.

Script 2
My name is xxxx and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos and her family heavily lobbied the Michigan legislature to shield the charter industry from greater oversight. She pushes for-profit charter schools and online schools, which consistently fail the students that they are supposed to serve. I want my tax dollars to stay in my community to support my public schools. I don’t want my money going to private schools and profit making scams. Betsy DeVos is bad for American education. I am asking that the Senator oppose DeVos.


Could my one phone call make a difference? Maybe. But if I got 4 people to call who each got 4 people to call, that’s 64 calls (if I did the math correctly). Could 64 people make a difference? Definitely. What if nobody called to support the DeVos appointment and all the calls were to oppose her? That could make a difference.

I am going to call both my senators this morning and tell them to oppose her appointment. Doing so will make me feel like I have a voice, which I do. It might make me feel like I live in a democracy, which I do. I want to tell my family, friends, students, and colleagues that I did something. My mom used to say there are two kinds of people in this world; doers and complainers. Today I will be a doer.

I encourage you to take a few minutes of your day and make the phone calls. You can ALWAYS find time for the things important to you. If you’re reading this, you likely have some skin in the game. Make the call.

These are my reflections for today.



Author: Meg White

I am a lifelong educator and I hope to use this blog to reflect on what's happening in public education. These are my musings, opinions, and reflections. If you learn from them, good for us. Ignorance is no excuse. I have co-authored a book, "Questioning Assumptions and Challenging Perceptions: Becoming an Effective Teacher in Urban Environments" (available on amazon)

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