Thursday, June 02, 2011

National Education Town Hall Reaches Consensus on Reform

How I wish I could have been at this recent town hall meeting in DC with Geoffrey Canada, Michael Bennet, Chris Christie, George Miller and deputy education secretary Tony Miller.  Here's a report by Cheryl Einhorn:

A clash over teachers' unions between Chris Christie and Democratic congressman George Miller generated most of the heat, but the light from a national town hall about education held last week in Washington was focused on the reforms that are necessary to improve the nation's ailing school system. And on the need for reform there was basic agreement.

The panelists, who included Gov. Christie, Rep. Miller (D-Calif.), Harlem Children's Zone founder Geoffrey Canada, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and deputy education secretary Tony Miller, all agreed on the need to nurture education by having the federal government set a broad outline for raising academic standards, something that many conservatives do not agree with but that Christie does, in part because of the federal government's unique ability to view education from "20,000 feet." The panelists also agreed that there is a need to improve teacher recruitment and increase literacy while enabling states to have flexibility to implement education reforms based upon local needs.

Panelists were also aligned that teacher pay must increase in impoverished school systems in an effort to improve teacher retention in these locations where experts say that impoverished students have only a 9 in 100 chance of graduating high school in the U.S. Average teacher salaries are often lower in impoverished areas because the high turnover tends to mean that those schools have a greater percentage of new teachers who earn less than their more experienced peers.

Sponsored by the makers of the Waiting for Superman documentary, the National Education Town Hall attracted over 120,000 views of the Facebook post linking to the event and included a live video stream to education groups in states like Massachusetts and Tennessee, organizers says.

…Gov. Christie asked the panelists "are we satisfied with the level of failure we have?" and answered his own question with an upbeat note saying "this is a unique moment. You have the president of the United States, Secretary of Education, a conservative governor of New Jersey, a Democratic member of the House, a Democratic member of the Senate all saying essentially the same thing. If we can't take advantage of this moment, then we deserve what we get."


National Education Town Hall Reaches Consensus on Reform

Cheryl Einhorn 05.16.2011 - 11:24 AM

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