Monday, August 1, 2011

Kennedy Listens To More Ideas on Improving Education in Indianapolis

Last Tuesday, I was invited to be a part of a forum on education with a wide variety of educational professionals. This was one of several forums Kennedy has held over the past few months.

Seated at my table was a moderator from the Kennedy campaign, an IPS Administrator, an IPS Police Officer, a representative from Teach for America, a charter school elementary teacher, and a retired administrator with consulting experience. Add in my experience as a high school teacher, and I can say our random table had a wealth of different experience.

With that said, we came up with common themes. Kennedy's moderator asked us what's working in our schools, what the barriers are to our students learning, and what role the Mayor could play in improving education in Indianapolis. Kennedy's campaign took notes and the candidate herself made a point to roam around the room and simply listen to the conversation. That's what this was about. It was about a chance to listen to educators talk. There was no outward agenda. No political points were pushed. Kennedy made one reference to her plan outlined in the Kiwanis speech. No campaign funds were collected. It was just simply a chance for close to 50 educators to talk to someone that, come November, will have a big bully pulpit for students in Marion County and the City of Indianapolis.

It was one of the most enjoyable 90-minute periods for me this summer. Hopefully, when Kennedy is Mayor, she will continue to offer these forums for not only educators but expand it to parents and to students. Education, as the IPS Administrator sitting at my table said, is the heart of this community. He is certainly right. If we can work together to improve education in Indianapolis, it will obviously pay huge dividends for a better city in Kennedy's "Vision 2021" plan.


Anonymous said...

The first Kennedy roundtable I went to was in 2009, I think. It wasn't on education, but the format was the same. She actually has trained moderators to facilitate discussion and keep folks on task. I have been to several since. They are simply among the best run events I have ever attended. That says more about her abilities than any speech, ad, or website. Melina for Mayor!

Nicolas Martin said...

How many generations of children will have their lives ruined by public schools before the system is junked? Every reform requested by the education establishment over decades has been implemented -- including increases in salaries and reduced class sizes -- yet the U.S. lags behind ever more countries in student performance.

The problem is manifold. The same people who create the problems are paid to solve them. The worse the schools do the more justification they have for demanding more money: they are rewarded for failure. Like all government entities they do what they do badly.

It is striking how little has changed since the following was written:

A couple of days spent examining the New Thought in pedagogy are enough to make the judicious weep. Its aim seems to be to reduce the whole teaching process to a sort of automatic reaction, to discover some master formula that will not only take the place of competence and resourcefulness in the teacher but that will also create an artificial receptivity in the child. The merciless application of this formula (which changes every four days) now seems to be the chief end and aim of pedagogy. -- H. L. Mencken, Education, 1922.

Teachers, like lawyers, are a major source of support and money for Democrats, and so Ms. Kennedy will endorse the latest "reforms" whatever their effects (or lack thereof) on students.