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Follow-Up: Partnering Up on Education Policy


Sarah Henchey

In my previous post, I encouraged President Obama to articulate the purpose of education within our society and evaluate his administration's policies based on this understanding. I also called upon my fellow educators to consider how they would scaffold and support the president's learning.

However, it is not enough for only our leaders to participate in this inquiry—we must all explore this essential question.

Just as the classroom stretches beyond a school's walls, learning extends far past a formal education. Presidents, policymakers, and the public must come together to address the realities of our current system and create purposeful and transformative reforms. And our teachers, working as partners in learning, will be there to support and guide this exploration. After all, just as we call upon expert professionals to advise us in complex disciplines, including economics and medicine, so too must we recognize the training and experiences of our nation's practicing teachers and researchers.

So, where do we start? How do we go about answering the question of what role education plays in our society? Conversations like those featured in this blog present a solid jumping-off point for our research.

Let's begin with a few initial questions to focus on as we investigate expert sources:


  • How can education meet the needs of our children growing up in low-income environments? Starting source: Last month, expert practitioners provided insight into addressing the learning needs of our students in at-risk and low-income environments.

  • How can we leverage the strengths and talents of our teacher leaders to meet the needs of our students? Starting source: In the first dialogue featured in this space, educators came together to reimagine the roles of teachers within a school.

  • Where does education take place within our society? Starting source: Teachers explore strategies for engaging parents and families in the schools.

The links above represent a small selection of sources to begin consulting as, together, we seek to create and support policies that align with our vision. Where else might we look for guidance? What other research or resources should we explore?

Sarah Henchey is a National Board-certified teacher and has taught middle school for seven years in North Carolina's Orange County school district.

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