The Debate (Conversation?) About the Next Secretary of Education

December 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

posted by Margaret Terry Orr, Barbara Dubitsky, Lia Gelb, Marian Howard, Nancy McKeever, Peggy McNamara, Diana-Elena Matsoukas, Hal Melnick, Frank Pignatelli, Rena Rice, Rima Shore, Barbara Stern, Naomi A. Weiss, faculty at Bank Street College of Education

At the Dec. 5, 2008 Graduate faculty meeting the following letter was composed and then sent to the NYT in response to a David Brooks op-ed piece titled “Who Will He Choose?”

Selecting a Secretary of Education is quickly being reframed by competing ideas of accountability and the future of education. With that has come a rush to label ideas as either “reform” or “establishment” (see Brooks, 12/5/08). Such steps are in stark contrast to Obama’s candidacy, which was built on a platform of inclusion-moving beyond stale and divisive ideologies and finding common ground. The values at the core are equity, opportunity and possibility for all children. The re-authorization of NCLB and economic challenges ahead make it imperative that we reaffirm three core values in supporting educational reform:

  • the holistic development of all children (not just reading/language arts and math standardized test scores)
  • deep and extensive educator preparation, development and support to provide quality learning
  • engagement of whole communities in supporting quality teaching and learning, not disenfranchisement of many to make way for quick structural reforms.

We believe that Brooks has it exactly backward in calling Linda Darling-Hammond the “establishment.” We strongly support the policy platforms of educators like her who have worked throughout their careers for policies and reforms built on the above core values. We welcome the day when these core values and approaches would actually be the “establishment” rather than solely the option of a select few.  We strongly encourage the Obama administration to use these ideas as guides to select a Secretary of Education who is committed to make these possible, and not simply support strategies that may make political careers but hinder the growth and development of children and the well-being of communities.

A letter to the editor of the New York Times that also challenges David Brooks’ 12/5/08 op-ed piece was published on 12/11/08.

Entry filed under: policy, politics.

Making Room in the Circle An Online Video Takes Us into the Classroom of an Exemplary Educator

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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