Yesterday, I met with the School of Education Faculty to discuss the current situation with school reform, teacher education, and ways in which Trinity might take a more prominent role in contributing to new models for educational success in our city. The faculty is eager to move ahead with genuine transformation of our work in education and counseling — and great ideas abound! Secretary Duncan’s call to action is resonating at Trinity, and this will have a very productive long-term impact on our effectiveness in educating school leaders, teachers, counselors and others.
Dr. Amy Brereton wrote a comment on my previous blog about Secretary Duncan’s speech at Columbia, and what she has to say is so important that I’m bringing it forward for consideration here, see below….. And, what do YOU think? Please join this discussion by clicking on the “comments” link below, or send me your thoughts in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s Dr. Brereton’s comment:
Secretary Duncan’s speech at Columbia Teacher’s College has provided us (schools of education) with an opportunity to reflect on the work we do. Like President McGuire, I agree with several of the points Secretary Duncan made. The faculty in Trinity’s School of Education have embraced this opportunity to discuss our work and how we can continue to support and train the excellent teacher candidates enrolled in our programs. We have identified a need for collaboration.
A culture of blame has dominated discussions about education in the United States. Children are blamed. Parents are blamed. President McGuire’s blog describes the unproductive blame that has been heaped on teachers. Secretary Duncan’s address indicates that schools of education are to blame. This culture of blame cultivates division and operates from a deficit perspective.
It is imperative that we move beyond blame. Parents, teachers, schools of education, and children all have powerful expertise that can inform and transform educational practices. The most innovative and impressive educational approaches and models (i.e. Waldorf, Froeble, Reggio Emilia, Montessori) view children as strong learners, parents as essential partners, and teachers as capable professionals.
We face incredible challenges. We have some choices. We can continue to face these challenges in isolation, doing all we can to deflect the blame that is flung at us, or we can take collective ownership of our children’s education. We can continue looking to the ‘other’ as the source of ‘school failure’, or we can take heart in knowing that we have vast resources at our disposal in the form of parents, teachers, schools of education, and children…especially children.
Unfortunately, collaboration is not easy to achieve. It demands parity. Are we ready to listen and consider the opinions of parents and children with the same level of seriousness that we listen to and consider the views of policy makers? As the faculty’s response to President McGuire’s blog indicates, we recognize the need for civil discourse about improving education and we are keen to take our seat at the discussion table. The question is: What must we do to ensure that we are not sitting there alone?