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February 7, 2016 - WAYS TO MAKE AN IMPACT: More Inspiration for COUNTERACT [false] ACCOUNTABILITY


We're now just about a week away from the submission deadline for COUNTERACT [false] ACCOUNTABILITY (11:59 p.m. on Feb. 15th).

We promised you a few more examples in the interim--ideas to help unleash your creativity. We're good to our word.

The Audrey Project

Today, we're bringing to you a simple video project from south-central Wisconsin that had a successful outcome. 

A few years ago, the city of Baraboo, WI, made a decision to shift to smart water meters and had mandated installment of those meters in every home served by its public utility. Not everyone was happy about the change. A handful of engaged citizens cited reasons as diverse as cost, efficiency, privacy, and health. However, city officials were uninterested in finding a better solution or even a compromise. They basically provided Baraboo residents with no options at all. Instead, they threatened water shut-off for anyone refusing to comply. Just like with much of what we're facing with false education reform today, most citizens were either unaware or afraid to stand up.

Of the few people in Baraboo willing to take a stand, no one was more engaged than an 80-year-old widow and grandmother named Audrey. Audrey was polite with city officials but refused to back down to their wishes.

A handful of activists in nearby Madison--where a bipartisan battle over smart meters had also just been waged--heard about what was happening to Audrey and decided to do something about it.

They drove to Baraboo to capture an interview, created a video, and took it viral on social media. The video wasn't fancy, but it started to capture a lot of local attention.

The activists went back to capture additional video of Audrey's appearance before Baraboo's three-man Public Safety Commission a month later.

When the city actually did shut Audrey's water off in an effort to force her to comply, the folks who made the videos took that information to social media, too. They quite literally and very successfully made Audrey the face of an issue for many, many people. In other words, the activists personalized the issue--a very savvy strategy. It began to win Audrey interviews on a number of regional talk radio programs in relationship to both her issue and the way in which the City of Baraboo had bullied her and other citizens.

The activists also submitted open records requests to city officials, ultimately exposing the manner in which city officials were thinking and talking about Audrey--which wasn't so polite or professional in some cases. The requests also yielded correspondence and phone calls that had begun to come in from--quite literally--across the United States and beyond--people expressing indignance toward Baraboo's city officials at the shameful manner in which they were treating an elderly woman who was simply standing up for her rights and those of others in her community.

The videos--and the manner in which they personalized the issue--were the linchpin for the whole project. It was the video that ultimately ensured the needed public exposure, put a face on it, and resulted in enough public pressure to achieve a successful result for Audrey and other Baraboo residents who wanted an alternative. In the face of a significant amount of bad press and public outcry, the City of Baraboo had little alternative but to turn Audrey's water back on and seek a compromise. Audrey and a handful of other city residents who had resisted finally did end up with new water meters...but non-broadcasting meters that the city must check manually. 

Video, then, and personalization are two powerful tools with which activists can effectively expose the truth and reach people. In this instance, the video didn't have to reach tens or even hundreds of thousands to have the needed impact. Just a few thousand was all it took for city government to understand that the optics for them in bullying an 80-year-old widow and grandmother were very bad indeed.

Bringing It Back to Deception in Education Reform... 

Imagine these sorts of tools appplied to the ways in which education "reformers" are deceiving the public with misleading language. What might happen if even a handful of submissions to COUNTERACT [false] ACCOUNTABILITY started to catch on...?

Waking up a single neighborhood or community--yours--could result in many, many more people understanding what so-called accountability is really all about and deciding to do something about it. And as those people become informed and stand up, others will catch the fire. Resounding Books will do everything in our power to ensure that outcome.

So, have you started yet? Are you talking with friends to brainstorm ideas? Have you considered what angle of [false] accountability you'd want to expose or which people you'd want to help inform?

Again, [false] accountability hurts everyone--regardless of what educational pathway you've chosen for your children--public, private, or home-based. It damages students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers alike, never mind our society more broadly. So, there's no shortage of possibilities when it comes to exposing the truth. Our recent editorial in Western Free Press sheds a light on just a few crucial realities.

Imagine being able to look at each other and say, "We were part of the solution...We exposed the lies. Together, WE changed the game."

We're looking forward to being able to say that with you.

Don't forget, we've posted the full initiative guidelines as well as an online submissions form

Show us what you've got! 

Can't wait to see your ideas, help you get them done, and amplify your efforts for impact...!