Community Format

The community looks similar to Facebook with five main components:

  • Activity where you’ll see posts and comments across the entire community
  • Groups where you can connect and interact with members who share similar interests
  • Forums where you can engage in broad topics and ideas and/or subcategories of interest
  • Events where you’ll see and can sign up for synchronous video discussions like ‘salons’ and guest/panel speakers
  • Private Messages where you can communicate privately with other members

When you join the community, you will set up a profile where you can introduce yourself, and choose how you’ll engage with the community. You’ll be able to comment, and share articles, videos, photos, documents, and social media links. To preserve the integrity of interactions please do not share anything from our community on outside social media and similar platforms. Doing so will risk removal from the community.

Who's here and what are they talking about?

ThoughtStretchers Community is new so it will take time to grow and evolve. Anyone interested in education, especially pre-K12, and looking to have productive engagements is invited. The community will include members with a range of connections to education from teachers to consultants and researchers; from parents to policymakers. Under the umbrellas of broad Group and Forum categories, you’ll notice interesting subcategories and interactions.

These will evolve based on engagement and suggestions.

How much of this is about politics and culture war stuff? I'm not interested in that.

Some Groups and Forums will engage with political and culture war issues, and there is a Forum specifically for that. But if you’re sick of that stuff, plenty of other topics like teaching practice, educational research, teacher retention and recruitment, book clubs, guest speakers, and more are available. 

Who creates Groups and Forum topics?

An initial set of Groups and Forum topics were thoughtfully created. Members can create additional Groups but not Forums. Members can also start discussion threads and suggest Forum topics in the Site Suggestions Forum. Community administrators reserve the right to reorganize, edit, or delete content in the interest of the community functioning effectively and efficiently.

Is this free?

Yes. While we may offer events that require payment it is free to sign up and participate. As the community evolves and grows—demanding more of our resources—that may need to change. Making money from the community is not our intent.

Why does this private community exist?

In early 2023, my interactions with educators and those interested in education signaled a desire for a place where they could engage in good-faith conversations that unpack nuance, complexity, and understanding rather than the seemingly toxic and corrosive arguments common on other platforms. This desire came from teachers and school leaders during our professional development work, friends, peers, and colleagues as well as podcast guests with whom I try to model heterodox (not conforming with accepted or orthodox standards or beliefs) and sometimes difficult conversations. This community is an attempt to create such a place and while it has been a painstakingly slow development process I am excited and hopeful that this will indeed present an opportunity for those interested in Pre-K12 education to dialogue, discuss, and debate in productive ways, even if imperfect.

The community is private because we want diverse opinions, ideas, and thoughts and exposure to a wider online audience who does not share that value makes that explicitly more difficult. Without registering, while you will be able to view the Group and Forum topics and categories, you won’t be able to access discussion threads and replies or interact. We expect community interactions and discussions to remain private not because we want to hide anything but to foster better, thought-stretching, conversations among those interested in sharing and hearing a variety of ideas and thoughts in pursuit of a productive path forward. If you have questions please email me.

– Drew Perkins, Director of ThoughtStretchers Education