Thursday, April 23, 2009

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan To Speak at UNI on Friday

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will speak at UNI on Friday at 11 am. The speech will be at Gallagher-Bluedorn and is free and open to the public.

Earlier this week, the Des Moines Register interviewed Duncan. Duncan emphasized the need for high quality teachers.

Q. The No Child Left Behind law sought to ensure teacher quality, but U.S. classrooms still have a mix of teachers in terms of effectiveness. What policy changes are needed at the federal level, and at other levels, to assure there's a great teacher in every classroom?

A. There are a number of things we have to do. We have a chance to recruit the next generation of great teachers into the classroom [because of the wave of baby boomers who will retire]. We need to bring the best and brightest around the country into teaching. We have to do a better job of supporting that great talent when it comes to teaching.

Q. Do teacher-education programs in general need to become more selective about which applicants they admit, both in terms of academic standing and the right personality?

A. Yes. I think many schools of education have to do that. [A strong teacher-education program must be sure it is] giving students the practical experience of working in classrooms. Some schools of education do an extraordinary job of making sure their education is relevant, and some are a little too distant from the reality of what is going on in classrooms.
I don't agree with Duncan on everything. However, I do agree that our education system needs to be reformed and am glad that Duncan and Obama are willing to get input from all sides on this issue.
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