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 health care professionals; local, state, and federal employees; and early-childhood educators. She was elected in 2008, following eleven years of service as an AFT vice president. As president, Weingarten has launched major efforts to place education reform and innovation high on the nation’s agenda. She led the development of the AFT Innovation Fund, a groundbreaking initiative to support sustainable, innovative, and collaborative reform projects developed by members and their local unions to strengthen public schools. Weingarten served for twelve years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 nonsupervisory educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law, and education.
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.