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Teachers Provide Real-Life Context for Policy
Friday, October 23, 2009
A new report, cosponsored by College Board Advocacy and Phi Delta Kappa International, salutes the work and importance of teachers and offers insights on current issues in education.
Teachers Are the Center of Education: Profiles of Eight Teachers was released at the 2009 PDK International Summit on Quality Educator Recruitment and Retention in Indianapolis. It serves to confirm what is publically acknowledged — that teachers are at the center of education — and to note the challenges teachers face in today’s schools and to amplify the voices of this critical group.
The words of the profiled teachers will help all who hear them to chart a “partial road map for changes in public policy,” as Arlene Ackerman, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, wrote in the report’s foreword.
“It’s good for the public to get a glimpse of what’s right about public education, and we believe that starts with the most crucial force in learning, our teachers,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “In each case, these teachers underscore the national importance of elevating teaching in this country.”
Selected by College Board members and staff, the teachers, who epitomize the profession’s most admirable qualities, provide a diverse set of disciplines, locations, types of schools and student populations.
- Cathleen Cadigan, from Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas, discusses the lack of resources in our schools and their unequal distribution
- Seth Mitchell, from Lisbon High School in Maine, talks about the need to work more collaboratively with other teachers and the importance of parent and family involvement
- Sheryl Fontaine of Reed High School in Sparks, Nev., brings attention to class size burdens and the lack of professional respect for teachers
- Cross-disciplinary work and measuring success is the focus of Bill Jeter of Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, Minn.
- Judy Ellsesser-Painter of South Webster High School in Ohio introduces the idea of creating community with those outside the school
- Bellevue (Wash.) High School’s Steve Crawford points out the need to link the classroom to the world that surrounds our students
- Gloria Gonzalez, who teaches at Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., discusses unprepared students
- New York’s South Bronx Preparatory teacher Juliet Lee concentrates on training for the classroom.
Ackerman added, “In words that we can all understand, these eight teachers from different backgrounds, teaching different subjects to different kinds of students under different circumstances, provide a human voice and real-life context for the policies we must work to implement.”