Our nation's founders believed that high-quality public education is a requirement for a robust and functioning democracy. This week examines current efforts that are dramatically improving the performance of public education in the United States. Specifically, we look at the impact of talented and motivated superintendents, leadership training for principals, trends in teaching teachers, and innovations in curricula.
We discuss the responsibilities, interactions, and support from national, state, and local government leaders, parents and grandparents, and local community groups. We leave with a better understanding of what is required and what is working, and what each of us can do to fulfill the goal of greater academic excellence for students in our schools.
Jonathan Schnur is co-founder and chief executive of New Leaders for New Schools, a non-profit organization devoted to driving high levels of learning and achievement for every child by attracting, preparing and supporting the next generation of outstanding principals for the nation's urban schools.
Schnur has led the development of the organization's strategy, management team and board, core values, partnerships and fundraising. From September 2008 to June 2009, he took leave from New Leaders for New Schools, serving as an adviser to Barack Obama's Presidential campaign, a member of the Presidential Transition Team, and a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Schnur has served as special assistant to Secretary of Education Richard Riley, President Clinton's White House associate director for educational policy, and senior adviser on education to Vice President Al Gore. He developed national educational policies on teacher and principal quality, after-school programs, district reform, charter schools and preschools.
Learning that takes place in schools or school-like environments (formal education) or in the world at large; the transmission of the values and accumulated knowledge of a society. In developing cultures there is often little formal education; children learn from their environment and activities, and the adults around them act as teachers. In more complex societies, where there is more knowledge to be passed on, a more selective and efficient means of transmissionthe school and teacherbecomes necessary. The content of formal education, its duration, and who receives it have varied widely from culture to culture and age to age, as has the philosophy of education. Some philosophers (e.g., John Locke) have seen individuals as blank slates onto which knowledge can be written. Others (e.g., Jean-Jacques Rousseau) have seen the innate human state as desirable in itself and therefore to be tampered with as little as possible, a view often taken in alternative education. See alsobehaviourism; John Dewey; elementary education; higher education; kindergarten; lyceum movement; progressive education; public school; special education; teaching.