Last week, over on Fordham Institute’s Common Core Watch blog, Robert Pondiscio wrote on the importance of shifting our thinking from one of teacher quality to one of quality teaching.
This is an idea to which I have long subscribed. Working in the education reform field, I grew amazed (and frustrated) by those who thought we could raise up all schools without working in partnership with educators. Surprised by those who believed that harsher teacher evaluation would result in improved teacher quality. And completely disenchanted with those who subscribed to the notion that educators were the problem causing all that wrong with the schools, instead of the central, necessary actor in improvement efforts.
So what does one do with all of this? Much reflection of the past two years has helped me better understand what is needed to provide every child — regardless of race, family income, or zip code — with a high-quality public education. I had to remember all the great lessons I learned about instruction as chief of staff at the National Reading Panel. About engagement as executive director of the Pennsylvania STEM Initiative. About research during my tenure at American Institutes for Research. And even about why I started Eduflack in the first place.
With all of that in mind, I am proud to announce that this month I am officially joining the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Some may know Woodrow Wilson for its longstanding work in foreign affairs through its Pickering Fellowships. Others may know of the number of doctoral dissertation fellowships it has awarded through its Newcombe and Women’s Studies programs. All of these are enormously important to the tapestry of elevating scholarship and learning in higher education today.
I am particularly proud to now be a part of the foundation’s work with its Teaching Fellows efforts. Under the leadership of foundation president Arthur Levine, the former president of Teachers College, Woodrow Wilson has sought to redefine how we prepare teachers and teacher leaders for the 21st century.
Woodrow Wilson is currently working in five states — Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio — to train the next generation of STEM educators. Working in collaboration with the Governor’s offices and a number of IHEs in each state, Woodrow Wilson “recruits and trains the nation’s best and brightest recent graduates and career changers with STEM backgrounds to teach in middle and high school science and math classrooms.”
And this work is now being further enhanced by the foundation’s MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership which “recruits and prepares outstanding leaders for schools and districts in participating states, with an integrated business and education curriculum, a focus on intensive in-school experience, and ongoing mentoring.”
I’m enormously excited to be part of the terrific team that is the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and to work with Dr. Levine and company to further elevate the teaching profession and further the necessary shift from rhetoric on teacher quality to action on quality teaching.
In addition to going home rhetorically, it also means that Eduflack is also physically returning home. This Jersey boy is off to Princeton, NJ, where I actually did my pre-k studies. And the whole edufamily will now be living just a town over from my dear edu-parents.
I’ll continue to write on the Eduflack blog (as well as my new Dadprovement blog), and will still be posting on a Twitter at @Eduflack. So keep reading!