Will you help me realize my dream of attending Camp Reform-a-Lot?
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.
Meet 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.
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.
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 $2500 and I get: Listing on event materials and website. 1 all-access guest pass to Camp Philos and VIP seating at social events including VIP Reception with featured guests. Really, reader—you’ll think about it? But wait, there’s more. Did I mention the amenities? Let me mention them now. Just as our original philosophers did back in the day, I’ll need to unwind at the end of mine with a Whiteface Aroma-Sensory Massage at the Whiteface Lodge Spa. Or perhaps a Swedish Massage in honor of that country’s bold experiment with school privatization. Or maybe a Lumberjack Man-Hands Soother because I type so much.
And did I mention that the Whiteface Lounge offers 25 different varieties of single malt scotch? I’ll want to try them all, especially after a long day of talking Tight-Loose Models for Ensuring All Kids Have Access to a Great Education. And know this, reader: I am not cheap, especially when it comes to spending the money of others (just ask the gentleman to whom I’m *technically* married). Which is why I’m especially looking forward to buying a drink for the genius behind Camp Philo$ 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.