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ACCOUNTABILITY: The word seems plain enough. It sounds reasonable—evokes a sense of fairness, and proper responsibility, particularly when taxpayer money is involved.

However, so-called education reformers generally mean something quite different by the term than you do. In fact, they quite literally bank on your assumptions. [ka-ching!]

Reformers know that if the private agendas behind [false] accountability were understood, it would never go along for the ride.

That's where you come in...

We're looking for citizens just like you to stop this deceptive use of language dead in its tracks.

Resounding Books officially invites you to submit a project proposal aimed at helping people in your community—and maybe even beyond—to understand the truth of what reformers really mean when they use the word "accountability."

If our judges like your idea, Resounding Books will seek funding on your behalf so that you can actually execute your project and have a true impact. You'll just need to document the project so we can share your work with others, amplifying it to have an even greater effect. More on that part in a bit.

Who can submit projects?

Any interested individual, informal group of concerned citizens, or local grassroots organization can submit a project.

[False] accountability is bad for everyone. So...

We don't care where you identify on the political or ideological spectrum. You could be a parent, teacher, or taxpayer; a kid or an adult; a public-, private-, or homeschooler; from a big city or a small town anywhere in the country. It's all good with us.

As long as you're committed to finding a way to communicate the truth about [false] accountability and have a creative and workable idea for a pertinent project, we're interested in your project idea.

What's the goal?

Simple. It's a project capable of being executed on a modest budget. Your idea might be designed to reach your entire community; or, it might target key audiences within that community more specifically (e.g., parents, school personnel, or the business community).

The key, of course, is to come up with an idea that's:

  • Simple
  • Creative
  • Impactful
  • Non-partisan
  • Civil

That last item is important. Let's face it: You catch more flies with honey.

In fact, lots of people who are doing or supporting [false] accountability in education right now aren't truly malicious. They simply don't understand the realities. They believe they're doing something good and valuable.

In getting your message across, you can be serious, darkly funny, or even slapstick. But remember: It's not about creating division and rancor. It's about telling the truth in a way that will wake people up and—hopefully—get them on the side of truth.

Example themes

Here's a short list of possible themes we brainstormed. It's far from exhaustive.

  • Centralization/standardization/homogenization of education
  • Punishment of students/teachers/schools/districts
  • Death of local control
  • Marginalization of parents and/or teachers
  • Objectification of students
  • Curtailment of imagination and creativity in children
  • Damage to students with special needs
  • Destabilization of minority communities
  • Data privacy and surveillance
  • Career-tracking of students

If the accountability-related theme you'd like to cover isn't on the list, that's o.k. Surprise us!

If you'd like some additional insight into [false] accountability in order to generate possibilities, feel free to peruse our January blog posts. There's lots there.

You might do video-recorded man-on-the-street interviews, design radio ads, build snow sculptures, make yard signs, put on a performance, or any number of things as the basis for effectively communicating your accountability-related message.

Example project

Here's a completely silly example that will at least give you an idea of what we're talking about.

Say you want to get the point across visually that Common Core is directly related to false accountability. You might distribute rolls of toilet paper to school board members every day for three days in a row. The rolls of toilet paper could be printed or stickered with funny but apt sayings—a different one each day—in order to put school board members on notice that you expect them to take proper action.

Day 1: "Wipe out Common Core 'accountability' to Big Gov and Big Biz."
Day 2: "Common Core-aligned assessments flush local control down the toilet."
Day 3: "'Accountability' to Common Core standards keeps student data flowing to dark places."


Yes! There is one!  This is local activism, after all.

Your project should have a budget of NO MORE THAN $500.

If your project requires more than that amount, we may still consider it. However, you'll need to demonstrate a solid plan for acquiring any additional funds required. Resounding Books will seek to raise no more than $500 on your behalf.

Where to submit...

Submit your project idea right here on the Resounding Books website, via our convenient online form.

Please be concise.

If you'd like to provide visual or video explanations with your written submission, you're welcome to upload up to five (5) photos or a single 3-minute video to Google Drive, YouTube, or some other convenient platform. You don't have to supply visual material, but you're welcome to do so if it helps you get your ideas across. We've provided a field for you to share any links with us.

Note: You may want to ensure that only the people with whom you share the link can access it, in order to keep your idea secure. 

Who'll be evaluating?

A team of five judges will be working as a team to evaluate project submissions. They come from all over the United States and are diverse in background and expertise. Together, they have a ton of insight into true education and false education reform. In the order in which they were announced:

Click on the judges names to learn more about them.

What happens next?

Once you submit your project, each of the five judges will rank your entry on six distinct scales:

1.     Clarity

How simple is your message to understand, and how effectively would your project communicate it?

2.     Creativity

How unique and/or clever is your project?

3.     Simplicity

How easily could your project be achieved? Could someone else potentially reproduce it to have a similar impact?

4.     Scalability

Could your project be reproduced on a larger scale if it's successful?

5.     Optics

Can the media take a picture or record it for blog posts, news reports, etc. Getting media attention will help you get your point across to more people. It will also make it easier for us to share your project with other interested citizens.

6.     Likely impact

How effectively is your project likely to reach others and change their perspective?

How likely is your project to spread within or beyond your community?

We'd like to find as many good projects as we can, so there is no set limit on how many projects we'll accept. If the judges like it and it receives a high enough score, we'll go after the funding so you can produce and document the project. The more of these projects there are, the greater the impact for truth.

Accepted submissions will automatically be featured on the Resounding Books website in order to generate interest in the competition, build momentum for local activism, and highlight concrete funding opportunities for potential donors.

We plan to publicize the names of submitting individuals and organizations when we post the projects on our website.

However, if you need to maintain an element of anonymity or surprise in relationship to your project, just let us know. We'll honor that request.

Note: It's not at all mandatory, but we'd be tickled if you could find a way to incorporate into your project any facts or ideas expressed in Resounding Books publication Common Ground on Common Core . If you decide to do so, be sure to specify in your project plan how it comes into play in your project. Again, though, it's a possibility, not a mandate.

Three "Judges' Choice" awards...

Once the deadline is reached and all project entries have been evaluated, the judges will select three submissions that will be eligible for additional assistance. It may be that we provide some consulting or helpful materials or additional funding. The type of assistance will be based on the nature and needs of the specific project.  

Projects that garner judges' choice awards will be highlighted on Resounding Books' website and beyond. We've got lots of friends with media outlets who'll want to draw attention to your work.

Documenting your project

If your idea is accepted, and funding sought on your behalf, you will need to execute and document your project. You may choose to assemble a photographic essay, a video, a series of blog entries or some other means of documentation. There are obviously many different ways to create a record of what you've done and the impact that it's had. However, preference will likely be given to projects that demonstrate a plan for audio-visual documentation of some sort.

Please be sure to specify your documentation ideas as part of your overall project plan.

Submission Deadline

All submissions must be received via the online form on Resounding Books website by:

11:59 p.m. CST, February 15th, 2016

Should you have any difficulty with the online form or require an alternative means of getting your submission to us, please contact Resounding Books via our website or by phone, at: 608.467.0877

So, what are you waiting for...?

Show us what you've got, and let's get some great work done together on a really important subject.