The faculty in Trinity’s School of Education have responded collectively and individually to my previous blog on the state of teacher education and Secretary Duncan’s remarks. While they posted their response on the “comments” section of the last blog, I think what they have to say is so important that I’m reposting it here:
Dear President McGuire,
We in the School of Education whole-heartedly agree with your position regarding who will teach! Teacher bashing is entirely unproductive, as is the non-inclusive approach that Chancellor Michelle Rhee seems to be taking as she attempts to implement the worthy goal of improving the District of Columbia Public Schools. We also agree that to address the school problem without addressing the context in which many students live is not a realistic approach to school reform. Pretending that good teachers alone can solve the problems in DCPS won’t get the job done. Schools do not exist in a vacuum; historic, socio-economic, and political factors including the legacies of racism and disenfranchisement have contributed to their troubles. School reform should be a part of a comprehensive plan to address poverty, adult illiteracy, and all the related issues.
Nonetheless, as educators, we must do what we can in the areas in which we have influence. And we can improve the outcomes for many of the students in our school system. Research points to smaller class sizes, extended school day and year, summer enhancement programs, and wrap-around social services as important contributors to student success. Some districts have found success in intra-district integration while others have decreased the achievement gap through developing high-functioning magnet schools. We know how to be more successful in schools. Whether we have the political will and the courage to collaborate with all stakeholders, including students, are the issues that restrain us.
As you know, faculty members in the School of Education are in the process of re-envisioning our programs to respond to the needs of today’s students and educators. In addition to a more collaborative approach to preparing educators who can work with children holistically and working to better merge theory and practice, we are also talking about what it means to be an advocate for children. On this note, one idea that was floated in a recent meeting was for Trinity to host a forum on what it means to have a child-centered educational system in the District of Columbia. We hear both the City Council and the Chancellor talk about how much they care about the children. They are not alone. In the spirit of true collaboration and inclusivity, we would like to open the discussion on how best to educate our children. Let’s hear from the community, from students and their family members, from teachers and administrators, and other interested parties in the city. Trinity is known for acting locally on its mission of global leadership. We believe a forum that would bring together people with differing views in a civil discussion would benefit the children by galvanizing adults to act more constructively.
Trinity EDU Faculty
Individual faculty also posted comments on the previous blog, and if you want to add your own comments, please click on the “comment” link below and post…. I’m especially interested to hear from students and graduates of our School of Education!