U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Congressman John Lewis and film producer Spike Lee will ask Morehouse College students to pursue teaching careers at a noon event at the Atlanta campus Monday, and then Duncan will join Sen. Johnny Isakson and Congressman Hank Johnson for a roundtable at Gwinnett County’s Meadowcreek High School. (I plan to talk to Sec. Duncan today on the phone about both these events and then attend the programs Monday.)
The Morehouse program is open to the public but is first come, first serve. It is at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta.
Here is the official US DOE statement on Duncan’s day:
“With more than 1 million teachers expected to retire in the coming years, we have a historic opportunity to transform public education in America by calling on a new generation to join those already in the classroom,” Secretary Duncan said. “We are working with the broader education community to strengthen and elevate the entire teaching profession so that every teacher has the support and training they need to succeed. Education is the great equalizer in America and the civil rights issue of our generation. If you care about promoting opportunity and reducing inequality, the classroom is the place to start.”
“Studies show that books, curricula, school buildings, and supplies are all important, but in the academic setting the teacher has the greatest influence on young people’s lives,” Rep. Lewis said. “So many boys and girls grow up today without experiencing the impact of any significant adult male in their lives. This void can lead to tragic consequences in our communities, contributing to gang participation and teen pregnancy. Teaching is a powerful way to make a difference and turn this decline in male support into a rich, rewarding learning environment that can transform a young person.
The TEACH campaign, launched in September 2010, encourages more minorities, especially males, to pursue careers in the classroom. Nationwide, more than 35 percent of public school students are African American or Hispanic, but less than 15 percent of teachers are Black or Latino. Less than 2 percent of our nation’s teachers are African American males. To learn more about the TEACH campaign, click here.
After the town hall meeting, MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson will announce his five-year national initiative to recruit, train and place 80,000 African American male teachers by 2015. Leaders from around the country will speak to a small group of young men about the need for them to become ambassadors for this initiative.
Secretary Duncan, joined by Sen. Johnny Isakson and Congressman Hank Johnson, will hold a roundtable with students at Meadowcreek High School, which is among the schools in Gwinnett County that won the prestigious Broad Prize. The prize is the largest education award in the country given to urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income and minority students.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog.