Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Animation Nation

I got back at 2am this morning from the Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit yesterday and am busy uploading the videos I took, so expect an email about the day shortly, but in short, it was AMAZING!  11,000 people were there.



In the meantime, I wanted to engage you in an experiment I'm doing: let's create some fun cartoons that highlight the many absurdities in our educational system.  My friend Seth Price, board chair of KIPP Baltimore, planted the idea in my mind a month or so ago, and then I read the article below in Friday's Wall St. Journal:

On the heels of Twitter, blogs and YouTube videos, do-it-yourself animation has emerged as the latest form of self-expression online. These days, anyone looking to make fun of their boss, unleash a rant or comment on the latest news can quickly create a cartoon, thanks to a crop of animation websites. And corporations, advertisers—and Hollywood executives—are beginning to take notice.

Some of these cartoons get MILLIONS of hits!  Here are links to some of my favorites:


·        Hi, I'm a Tea-Partier (

·        Quantitative easing explained (

·        I want gold (

·        Why I can't make mom friends (

·        IPhone 4 vs. HTC EVO ( (and


I spent a few hours playing with the various tools and it's remarkably easy and cheap to put together your own video.  Just go to: and get started.  The cost is a mere $2-3.  Just let me know if you post something and I'll send around the link.


Here's the one I put together about the insanity of laying off teachers purely by seniority (it's only 2 minutes):


Here's the text of the dialogue.  Let me know what you think – and please forward it along!  (Forgive saying "f-ing nuts" twice, but it really IS f-ing nuts and apparently a little shock value/humor helps the videos go viral.  If you strong disagree and think I should remove them, let me know…)


Hi, how are you?


Not so well. I just got laid off from my teaching job.


What?! Didn't you just win Teacher of the Year?




Then how come you were laid off?


Because I'm only a second-year teacher.


Why does that matter?


Because layoffs are not done by merit, but by the date you were hired.


That is f-ing nuts! What about the kids?


Their needs are not taken into consideration when teachers are laid off.


You're kidding!


I wish I were.


Are there any bad teachers at your school?


Of course. They scream at the children and show movies every day in class.


Doesn't the principal know who they are?


Of course. Everyone does.


Then why aren't they laid off first?


Because everything must be strictly by seniority. That's what the teachers union has negotiated in the contract.


That is f-ing nuts! I thought the teachers union was supposed to fight for what's best for kids.


No. The union fights for what it thinks is best for its members. If that means kids get thrown under the bus, so be it.


But wouldn't the union want to be rid of lousy teachers who bring shame and disrepute onto a noble profession?


You would think so, but no. When you think of the teachers union, don't think of a professional association like the American Medical Association. Think the longshoreman's union.


But why don't politicians stand up to the teachers unions and do what is right for kids?


You naive fool. Kids don't vote and they don't have a union.


That is outrageous! What can I do to help?


First, get informed by downloading the slide presentation and joining the education reform email list at Then, join Democrats for Education Reform and Students First at and


Animation Nation

Quickly made computer-generated cartoons are attracting millions of viewers online. Now, corporations, advertisers and Hollywood executives are taking notice.


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