I get a weekly e-mail from an organization named the Public Education Network. I have no idea what PEN's political leanings are. All I know is that, on Fridays, for the past 7 years, I get a great summary of articles and reports that cover the whole spectrum of education. The e-mail I received yesterday contained this:
Writing as a guest on The Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog, Linda Darling-Hammond says that the recent and first-ever International Summit on Teaching, convened in New York City, showed "more clearly than ever that the United States has been pursuing an approach to teaching almost diametrically opposed to that pursued by the highest-achieving nations." The summit gathered government officials and union leaders from 16 nations, and the contrast in attitude toward teaching between international participants and Americans "could not have been more stark." Officials from countries like Finland and Singapore described building a high-performing teaching profession by enabling all teachers to enter high-quality preparation programs, generally at the masters' degree level, where they receive a salary while they prepare. There, teaching students learn research-based strategies and train with experts in model schools attached to their universities. They enter a well-paid profession -- in Singapore earning as much as beginning doctors -- where they are supported by mentor teachers and have 15 or more hours a week to work and learn together. Schools are equitably funded and have the latest in technology and materials. If we are ever to regain our educational standing in the world, writes Darling-Hammond, our leaders must be willing to take a step toward taking teaching seriously.
I hope all of the knowledgeable and thoughtful people who read this blog will read this article and remember it. I found it to be very powerful and thought provoking. Maybe this can be the start of the conversation to make public education in America great again.