As the year winds to a close, we asked a handful of thought-provoking leaders in education to reflect on significant developments of 2014, and consider what’s to come. On everything from school discipline to immigration reform, these voices address progress, challenges and goals for the year ahead.
Whitney Henderson is a history teacher and Assistant Principal in New Orleans, but grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois – not far from Ferguson, Missouri. She reflects on how the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on November 24th, and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, have altered her thinking on how to teach American history today.
More diverse classrooms are something to celebrate. But the cultural differences that come along with them can be difficult to navigate. As demographic gaps between teachers and students grow wider, the need for a change in training around cultural diversity is increasingly important.
We talk a lot about what great teaching looks like, but often leave students out of the conversation. Recently, a small group of students at Lennard High School set out change that. Armed with four video cameras, they asked their peers about the kind of teachers they want and deserve.
The recent events in Staten Island and Ferguson present educators with complex topics to navigate in the classroom. As educators try to answer their students' questions and engage in productive discussions, here are some resources we've come across that can help.
Gina Tovar's son is a former student of Fishman Prize winner Steve Sanders — a teacher Ms. Tovar said "inspired my son tremendously." In her own words, Ms. Tovar reflects on how Mr. Sanders accomplished this, and what his presence in school meant to her son and his classmates.
At TNTP, we believe schools can and must be a powerful lever of change in this country. They are part of a larger effort toward justice and equal opportunity. But the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island remind us that improving schools alone is not enough.