Meet Our Summer Interns- Daniel Hay

July 13th, 2011

Category: News

I suppose a formal blog introduction ought to begin with a bit about myself, so hello – my name is Daniel Hay and I’m one of the new interns here at the Rodel Foundation.  I find myself in Delaware by way of an upbringing in New Jersey, a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York City, and a benign placement by Teach For America here in Wilmington.  Prior to TFA, I spent some time working as an aide to a Congressman from New Jersey and a freelance writer for a philanthropy consulting firm.  When I’m not digging through labyrinthine RTTT budgets here at Rodel, I’m a math teacher at A.I. du Pont Middle School and a newlywed.  If it’s the embarrassing/quirky facts you seek, here goes: I’m scared of snakes and can’t stand the wooden stirrers at Starbucks.  I can quote more lines of The West Wing from memory than anyone besides Martin Sheen should be capable of, and can also name all 100 members of the Senate.  And I suppose I should also warn my Philly-Phanatic audience in advance that I am, yes, an unrepentant Yankees fan.

I was excited to move to Delaware just after our state won the first Race to the Top grant, and I am excited now to be joining Rodel as school districts work to translate the poetry of their RTTT proposals to the prose of reform-minded budgeting.  Most of all, I’m excited to see what RTTT will mean for the people I care most about: my students and their parents.  What will be different for my kids on the first day of the new school year?  What can parents expect their sons and daughters to have gained by the time they graduate high school?  Why should those with the most invested in our schools be as excited about RTTT as us policy junkies?

Race to the Top has often been described in terms of a catalyst igniting lasting reform.  However, decades worth of good money chasing bad tells us that money alone cannot make a school system great.  RTTT is an important tool in providing the world class education my students need and deserve, but the real change agents are the stakeholders – teachers, parents, students, business leaders, the reform community, elected officials, etc.  I joined Rodel for the same reason I joined Teach for America: because the issue of educational equality is too important for those with a voice merely to yell invectives from the sidelines.  Transformational and sustainable reform can only be effected when all the stakeholders meet at midfield and agree to work together to do what is best for the children.  The need is great and the time is short.  I am excited to be here as The First State continues to lead the way on school reform.

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Dan Hay