Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Josh Groban, and Miss America... all in one week

Well when I left you in my last post I was heading off for the Fourth of July festivities, so I suppose I will start there. We were able to attend the concert just off the steps from the US Capitol building where Josh Groban, Steve Martin, Jordan Sparks, Matthew Morrison (from Glee) and a couple others performed. I must admit it was a pretty amazing concert and we had very good seats. The ADA section of the concert was fairly close, just off of stage left and when the performers were to go to the second stage more out in the crowd, they actually walked right in front of us. So Steve Martin and Jordan sparks literally walked 5 feet in front of me! It was pretty cool. However, with every good there must come a little bad, and although our seats for the concert were pretty spectacular we could not see the fireworks from where we were seated. We attempted to get up after the concert and moved to see the fireworks; however, we were unsuccessful.

Once I got back to the workweek, I was able to finish a project I was working on for the Equity and Excellence Commission that dealt with a report put out concerning equitable decisions of school boards and superintendents and how their decisions can have unintended ramifications. The report was entitled The Same Starting Line: How School Boards Can Erase the Opportunity Gap Between Poor and Middle-Class Children, And was put out by an organization called Appleseed. I must admit it was very interesting and shed a different light on how we can close the opportunity gap rather than focusing solely on fiscal issues.

The other exciting event that took place this week was a project that I have been working on with the Office of Communications and Outreach. The project is one of Sec. Arne Duncan initiatives called Let’s Read Let’s Move. The project focuses on getting kids to think about reading and continuing their education during the summertime as well as moving and playing outside as a form of exercise. To celebrate this we are holding four events throughout July where celebrities come and read with the Secretary to groups of children and then participate in fun outdoor activities. For the event this past week, the Secretary was joined by Atty. Gen. Holder and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to read some books to the children and then they were led by Miss America to the Let’s Move portion. All in all it was a great success–even though we had to move the event indoors due to rain. It was pretty crazy seeing some of those celebrities–Kareem is a giant, and rest assured that I got my picture with Miss America! The next event is already Tuesday so we are quickly turning around to prepare for the individuals coming and the changes that we need to make. I still think that I need to take time to pinch myself to believe that this is a reality, but let’s just say I’m having a lot of fun and still managing to work hard out here in Washington DC.

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