Saturday, May 3, 2008

WHY DO WE TEACH?

Working with Teachers Unite on educational forums has been amongst the more exciting things I've done this year. Every one of them has been illuminating and insightful and they have attracted a wide variety of teachers and students. In addition to TU's Sally Lee, the TU forum committee is made of up of members of ICE, TJC and independent activists in the UFT, so the Unite in Teachers Unite has real meaning.

I first heard of Deborah Meier in the early 1970's at a time I was struggling with an attempt to try an open classroom style of teaching. There were rumors of a master teacher who was actually doing it in a public school. For progressive teachers looking for new ways, Deborah became almost mythical. I wish I had been able to meet her then, as I gave up the attempt after a year and a half and went back to running my classroom in a traditional way.

I finally got to meet her back last fall at NYU, where Sally and I approached her about speaking at the TU forums. Deborah was on the panel discussing Kahlenberg's "Tough Liberal" book on Shanker. With all the Al gushing going on, Deborah did one of the most effective jobs I've ever heard taking Shanker's policies apart – without rancor. She had been a member of Unity Caucus way back when (she left over the lack of democracy) and a friend of Al's, who introduced her to Diane Ravitch – and their current collaboration as bloggers at Bridging Differences has been extremely popular. So it was clear she had a very good relatinship with Al despite their disagreements.

This last forum of the year should not be missed. And look for more excitement next year as we expand into new areas.

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WHY DO WE TEACH?
Revisiting Our Vision of Public Education

Did you want to give back to your community?
Did you want to support your students as leaders?
Did you want to be a part of public education reform?

Join Deborah Meier and Teachers Unite in a discussion about what brought us to teaching, and what we're fighting for now that we're here.

Deborah Meier has spent more than four decades in public education as a teacher, writer and advocate. http://www.deborahmeier.com

This is the final forum in the 2007-2008 series of events where educators relate their experiences in schools to larger political trends. The 2007 - 2008 forums focus on the impact of privatization and the corporate model on classroom life in NYC public schools.

Co-sponsored by National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham University

Thursday, May 8th, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
McMahon Hall Lounge, Fordham University
155 West 60th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam)
RSVP: info@teachersunite.net

Closest subways: 1, A, B, C, D

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