Whiteface Rulez

Will you help me realize my dream of attending Camp Reform-a-Lot?

Whiteface Lodge - look how nice it looks!

Whiteface Lodge – look how nice it looks!

Reader: it’s a well known fact that nothing thrills me more than the prospect of attending an elite gathering of education reform elites. Which is why when I learned about this all-star camping trip of elite reform all stars, to be held next month at none other than Whiteface Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains, I knew that I had no choice but to go. Alas, there was a problem—actually a great many problems. You see, it turns out that all-star camping is not an inexpensive proposition. And to put students *first class* costs even more.

philosophers campMeet the originals
First, I know what you’re thinking: there’s something about that name… Not Whiteface Lodge, shallow reader; I’m talking about Camp Philos: A Philosopher’s Camp on Education Reform. No doubt you are aware that this moniker harkens back to a gentler, more excellent time, long before the achievement gap had begun to widen and adult interests to put themselves first. I’m talking about the original Philosophers’ Camp, the one started back in 1858 by ten scholarly men—Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell and Oliver Wendell Holmes’ little bro among them—who fled Boston and Cambridge for the Adirondacks where, free from ceaseless nagging about their career readiness, they could at last discuss non-STEM-related topics in peace.

m-night-shyamalan-560Leading luminaries
Tragically, the Philosophers’ Camp was all but abandoned after the Civil War and none of its original members would make it into the New York State Common Core Social Studies Frameworks. But however leading their lights may have been, Emerson et al pale in comparison to the luminaries who will gather at Whiteface Lodge in May. Luminaries like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, chief DFERite Joe Williams, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, auteur-turned-reform expert M. Night Shyamalan and others of equal, if not greater, luminescence will gather ‘neath the pines to talk Innovative Teacher Prep; Collective Bargaining, and Building an Effective School Reform Coalition. In other words, There. Is. No. Way. I’m. Missing. This.

Camp Philo$
But enough about fantasy camp: you want to know how much this is going to set me you back. Reader: it’s only $1500 (not including transportation and lodging), unless I want to go VIP, in which case it’s only $2500 and I get: Listing on event materials and website. 1 all-access guest pass to Camp Philos and VIP seating at social events including VIP Reception with featured guests. Really, reader—you’ll think about it? But wait, there’s more. Did I mention the amenities? Let me mention them now. Just as our original philosophers did back in the day, I’ll need to unwind at the end of mine with a Whiteface Aroma-Sensory Massage at the Whiteface Lodge Spa. Or perhaps a Swedish Massage in honor of that country’s bold experiment with school privatization. Or maybe a Lumberjack Man-Hands Soother because I type so much.

670px-Taste-Single-Malt-Scotch-Step-3Bottoms up
And did I mention that the Whiteface Lounge offers 25 different varieties of single malt scotch? I’ll want to try them all, especially after a long day of talking Tight-Loose Models for Ensuring All Kids Have Access to a Great Education. And know this, reader: I am not cheap, especially when it comes to spending the money of others (just ask the gentleman to whom I’m *technically* married). Which is why I’m especially looking forward to buying a drink for the genius behind Camp Philo$ and friend of this page, DFER’s Joe Williams. After all, if it weren’t for Joe’s, ahem, gentle encouragement, I would never have been, ahem, gently encouraged, to come out as myself.

Send tips, comments and camp songs to tips@haveyouheardblog.com.


  1. I think you should look for sponsors and wear patches advertising all of them on your clothes. Works for NASCAR, right?

    1. I love that idea! And in this edupreneurial era, finding sponsors–and patches–shouldn’t be that difficult 🙂

  2. I just made a donation and hope you get to go so you can report back to us. And I hope that your presence there is highly “disruptive” in all meanings of that term!

  3. Thanks so much for donating! I’m blown away by how many people seem to want to send me to Whiteface Lodge. But will I make it back???

  4. I agree that an education “summit” with top influential politicians will likely result in very little adjustments to the current educational issues, because quite frankly what it all comes down to is money. We need more money to implement the programs that are proposed.

    I did read the announcement when it came out, it stated guests had three choices of resorts to stay at, prices ranged from $250.00- $125.00, which considering the location (not NYC) is a steal. I did not realize that there was actually a fee to attend the conference and I agree, $1500.00 is a steep price. As most know the best panels include a range of people and should include students, parents and other professionals, along with those top tier educators and politicians. I am with you on the cost. I would however be careful in mentioning The Whiteface Lodge, they are merely the host.

  5. Best money I’ve spent in weeks. Can’t wait to hear reports from the Lodge.

  6. Can’t wait to read the item.

    Love the idea of the NASCAR-style patches. Ours would read “NYC public school family opposed to charters/common core/high stakes testing and in favor of publicly run, inclusive, diverse, well-funded public schools taught by teachers not in fear for their jobs, where every child gets treated with respect and kindness and kids graduate ready to participate in our democratic society.”

    Would that fit on our $10 sponsor patch?

    I would love to see everyone arrive kitted out in their NASCAR style jackets with patches advertising each of THEIR sponsors. You would have many small sponsor patches representing parents, grandparents and teachers. Most of the other people at the conference would have just a few really big patches. How big a patch should Gov. Cuomo put on his jacket for the $800K+ he got from hedge funders for charters? Oh, wait, no extra advertising necessary, he already addressed that sponsor obligation with his legislation giving charters free rent in NYC and carte blanche to take over all the space any school they are already in.

  7. At first I thought you were kidding that this is at “whiteface lodge.” Just chipped in. Give ’em hell.

  8. I have an aversion to on-line payment systems. Any chance you can send me an address by email so I can contribute? If I was up for travel I would go myself. My patch would say art teacher and policy wonk since the days of Sputnik reforms.

  9. Jennifer,
    Donated $20. You have to use some of it to buy a six pack of a local NY beer, Utica, Gennesse, or any other “old school” local beer. And then you have to drink one for me!


    1. I love Gennessee ale! Thanks Duane, and I will think of you as I enjoy one (or all six)…

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