Truth and hope and the best education speech ever

This recent speech is 22 minutes long, but Michael Johnston’s stories about Tasha and Flavio make it worth every second. Johnston is the Democratic state senator from Colorado who made a name for himself last year when he led the charge to overhaul teacher pay and tenure. He’s also a former teacher and principal, and a Teach for America alum. He delivered this gem – a Forbes columnist called it the “best speech about education — ever” – at a TFA benefit dinner. Get the tissues now. These words in particular will sear themselves deep: “You think I can have that?”

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at