To Teach Is to Serve
Time Magazine has dedicated its entire current issue to education reform. Here's an excerpt from the editor's letter, with a nice plug for DFER board member Andy Rotherham:
For our fourth annual national-service issue, we have examined the problems of public education, specifically why it's so hard to find the teachers we need. I believe that teaching, particularly for K-12, is a form of national service and that the importance of what teachers do for our democracy is hard to overstate. At the same time, though, we can praise our teachers while realizing that we're not doing a very good job of preparing young Americans for either the responsibilities of citizenship or the workplace. As a country, we're spending more than twice as much per student than we were in 1971, and we rank 25th among industrial nations in math. Something's not right, and everyone knows it. (See TIME's special report on paying for college.)
Our cover stories by Amanda Ripley and John Cloud come at an inflection point for public education in America. The combination of falling test scores, rising dissatisfaction among parents, a difficult and more competitive global economy, a new crop of dynamic education innovators and an Administration that is actually willing to listen to them might just lead to real change.
Ripley's story uses the much-talked-about new movie Waiting for "Superman" as a vehicle for examining why the quality of public education in the U.S. is so uneven and whether new endeavors like charter schools can be a catalyst for positive change. Cloud's story looks at all the new ways that people, especially those looking to change careers, can become teachers and whether these programs actually work and are scalable. In both stories, we see how innovative organizations like Teach for America, KIPP schools and the New Teacher Project are helping to revitalize public education. And Andréa Ford's roundup of volunteer opportunities offers links and information about how anyone from recent grads to senior citizens can pitch in. Finally, this entire package, which was conceived and edited by senior editor Julie Rawe, is launching on the same day that Time.com will begin a weekly education column called School of Thought, by Andrew J. Rotherham, the Eduwonk blogger and a co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit working to help low-income students.
To Teach Is to Serve
By Richard Stengel, managing editor Thursday, Sep. 09, 2010
I was very fortunate to have had a handful of gifted teachers during my years in school. Their passion for their subjects — literature, history, writing — was inspiring. But their most important attribute was not that they taught what to believe, but how to learn — not what to think, but how to think.