The first year I attended was a carrot - when I agreed to chair the LimmudPhilly conference in 2011 I was sent here and immediately fell in love. The last two years I have attended because I truly believe in the values the movement inspires. The passion of an all-volunteer run event that brings together 2500 people from all over the world is inspiring. So much so that I would love for students, parents, educators, and administrators would take a page out of their book.
More people need to be invigorated by learning for learning's sake - not just for the grade or the test score. The fact that millions of dollars worth of support is being dangled in front of schools and districts (including NYC very recently) is anathema to the values we want our future children to espouse.
I am not saying the federal, state, and local governments simply provide carte blanche to schools - I think evaluation of effectiveness is an important piece of data when comparing programs. That being said, what is happening now with evaluation is a great lesson in how to demoralize a huge group of people and make it clear they should do something else for a living.
The mantra of Limmud is, "wherever you find yourself, Limmud will take you one step further along your Jewish journey." Perhaps the nation's education system should follow the same model and meet students, teachers, parents, and administrators where we are and help us get to our next step without holding us back.