This "Teacher Corp Academy" is one of the ideas bandied about by a panel at "EDin08"
, America's Education Crisis: Pursuing Academic Excellence
. EDin08 is an initiative that grew from the Rockefeller Philanthropy
Advisors Strong American Schools
project. This nonpartisan campaign is also supported by The Eli and Edythe
and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
and is dedicated to "promoting
sound education policies for all Americans".
Then again, maybe there is already one in the making (see below).
Even though it is difficult not to notice that the entire panel was comprised of white males, the ninety-minute panel discussion is worth a look. Also, there was very little "kid focus" to the conversation. The conversation was advertised as a look at some of the political implications of the educational crisis in the US, and to that extent it fit the bill.
Several participants - notably the superintendents from New York City
and Prince George's County
in Maryland - really nailed some key points about the gap in achievement between the privileged and those living in poverty.
The conversation about standards is an important one. According to John Deasy (from PG County) the standards need to be "higher, deeper and fewer". They did seem to dance around some of the barriers to national standards, and especially a candid assessment of No Child Left Behind
. It would also have been helpful if the panelists decoded "state's rights" and "local rights" in this context.
Also, missing from the conversation was a discussion of the purpose of public education. It appeared axiomatic that the only reason to educate children is so that we, as a nation, can be more competitive with children in other countries. Admittedly, math and science proficiencies are crucial, but so is critical thinking and creativity.
It is still amazing that discussions about the need for increased time on task are still in the mix. Solid research
on that issue has been around for at least twenty years. Yet, we still are discussing it instead of increasing it. Just like the school year and the school day. An indication of just how many contravening forces are at play in American education.
And from what all of these experts said, it is very clear that initiatives like the On The Move's* REACH Institute
is at the cutting edge of the creation of these new teachers.
To repeat, a useful conversation to drop in on. It would have been great, though, if some representatives from academia, like folks from REACH and some classroom teachers, had been on the panel. Or at least a woman, or a person of color. Maybe next time.Here is the link on FORA.tv
* On The Move
is a member of the Whitman Community.