Today’s work began with a check-in by each participant, recounting a brief history of their lives, educational experiences and current questions they are asking in their work. I am surrounded by a group of amazing men and women who are incredibly dedicated to leading their schools in ways that build their communities and support student learning. They are also passionate about reaching out to new communities and underserved students for whom their schools can make a difference.

We spent the afternoon with Pearl Kane with a review the NCLB, RTT, PISA and Mckenzie reports on the state of education in the US and around the world. We discussed the perceptions of independent school education in our country and its relationship to public school education. We also looked at the design of the reports on education that we read – who funded them, the assumptions of those doing the testing, what did the tests measure, etc. Different countries and cultures have different desires in their outcomes for education. The US is comprised of many different cultures and beliefs about education, whereas other countries are more focused with powerful government expectations that drive the educational systems.

Questions I left with:

What does it mean to be educated in the U.S., and other countries?  Who decides? What purpose does education serve? What does an educated person look like and how do they behave/interact with their peers and their government? What does an educated person believe? Are these universally accepted expectations?  What is our responsibility individually and collectively for insuring that all people are educated? How does it hurt the whole if some are not educated in our community, our region, our nation, our world?

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The Klingenstein Heads Program

Today, I’m heading to NYC to begin my work as a member of the Klingenstein Heads Program at Columbia University. I will be joining 20 other school heads from Ecuador, Romania, Germany, the Dutch Caribbean, and the United States.

Our first assignment was to select an area of study in which we were most interested. My choice was finding ways to compensate teachers so that we could attract and retain the best teachers.

I am very interested in this topic because we have been thinking about it at Greensboro Day School for several years. When we last studied it, we decided that a banded system would work best, one in which teachers new to the school or the profession would begin in the first band and, as they grew in their ability to teach, support the school, participate in school life and take on greater leadership, they would rise higher on the bands and earn more money.

Determining what criteria will best describe teachers at each band and deciding  if they have met the criteria is a challenge. I am hoping that my time over the next two weeks will allow me to explore this issue and to take the time under the outstanding leadership that the Klingenstein program offers to explore current issues in education.