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.
Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for students, their families and communities. The AFT and its members advance these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through members’ work.
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.