There’s a list somewhere on the Internet that lists the Top 50 Most Populous Cities. No one argues over the results because it is based on quantitative data, i.e. population records.
There’s a list somewhere of the highest paid celebrities in 2018. Again, it’s based on quantitative data so, unless there was a miscalculation, no one even thinks to argue about it.
But once you move away from the quantitative, any Top 50 list becomes a subjective judgment made by those who came up with the list, whether it’s by a single arbiter or by multiple judges.
In our society, we celebrate the Oscar nominees as well as the Oscar winner. You may feel that someone else should have received the Oscar for Best Actor, or been nominated. And you may have a legitimate argument for considering or including someone else.
No qualitatively determined Top 50 list will ever be definitive. In fact, there may be amazing voices that the judges were unfamiliar with.
But in spite of these shortcomings, a well-crafted Top 50 list includes individuals who are exceptional. Every person on the
list is someone who both the recommenders and I believe you will learn from if you follow them this summer.
Could there be 50 more educators of equal exceptionalness that you should follow? Absolutely. That doesn’t take away the excellence of those on the list, but it’s important to keep things in perspective.
Which leads back to why even have a list? I’ve been floored by the hundreds of people who have viewed the list and the many who have then retweeted it to their followers because they felt it would be useful. And I think that there were some amazing voices that I knew of who I felt would be useful for folks to follow. And then other folks shared recommendations. And from reviewing those recommendees’ tweets from last summer, I shared additional voices who I believed would also be useful for folks to follow this summer. For each individual on the list, I also included one of their tweets from last summer so that there was some evidence to support their inclusion on the list.
What was interesting about the review process of recommendations is that some educators took a break from tweeting PD over last summer: the preponderance of tweets were replies to friends about vacations and summer activities, and anything but professional development. It therefore didn’t seem helpful to include them on the list, and it didn’t seem appropriate to put any undue pressure on them to produce PD by including them on the list.
Over 32,000 people viewed my tweet on Twitter for the Top 50 list. And a handful took issue with the gender and racial breakdown of the list. In putting together my list, I specifically asked for recommendations to help me complete the list: I think I had put together the initial twenty at that point. But none of the people who criticized the list had taken the time to make recommendations. Instead, I was accused of racism for not including enough of one race or for including too many of another race. There was an enormous amount of anger expressed in those Twitter discussions. For a few, it felt as if the anger was because neither I nor any of the over 32,000 people who had seen the tweet had chosen to recommend them. But for most of the people who had engaged in discussion, it was about the reality that it felt as if people of color were being excluded. Again. Because from the discussion it was clear to me that whether I was a non-racist with the best of intentions in creating this list, I dropped the ball by not making the effort to create a more inclusive list.
I wish in some ways that the discussion was not so accusatory with false assumptions and accusations as to my integrity, but in other ways I am grateful for the raw honest expression of frustration, anger and distrust. Because once you become real as to why things are not right, you provide an opportunity for things to be corrected.
At this point, if you would like to recommend more diverse voices for inclusion on the list, you can do so by clicking on the pink Ask A Question button at the bottom of your screen to privately share your recommendations. If you run out of room for your recommendations with one question, submit that “question” and then click on the pink button again to share the rest of your recommendations. I will then go through the review process and add additional voices to the list. If the list goes beyond 50, I think that’s okay. The 50 number was a guide number to create a helpful resource—not the reason why it would be helpful.
I have tried my best to address the legitimate concerns expressed by Kit and others. To those who are willing to accept my intent, as well as my solution to address the inequities raised, I look forward to more productive conversations in the future. To those who are not willing, I would only ask that you think twice before accusing someone of ill intent: if you took the time to look at the quality of the content that I create and share on both Twitter and Cake, you would come to a vastly different conclusion.