Hear from education innovators talk about new ways to teach our youth July 14
Think about what passes for public debate in education these days. When we don’t talk about governance — I’ve crossed the line between the public and the charter so far — we’re talking about the political herring of critical race theory or the very real issue of school funding disparities. Too often, however, what is missing is an in-depth conversation about how we actually educate our children and how we can do it better.
Classrooms, after all, look a lot like what they have been for generations. The authority figure at the front of the room. The whiteboard or the overhead projector. The students at their desks, raising their hands. Homework. Detention. Newsletters. When it comes to education in America, sometimes it feels like you’re in a perpetual time warp.
That’s why we’ve brought together three of the most forward-thinking educators we know to a public debate on innovation in education. Because, while it might not be part of the mainstream narrative, there really are some super smart people out there who are rethinking the way we teach our kids.
Take Carlos moreno, the first of our guests of honor. You can just look at his resume to conclude that he’s an education star: Teacher. Main. CEO of Global learning, a nonprofit organization that has developed over 150 schools (including two in Philly) that engages the whole child and tackles systemic issues related to equity in education. But, in reality, all you need to know is the descriptor from Moreno’s Twitter feed: “Curiously curious about everything.“
I can attest; when we spoke a few weeks ago the conversation shifted from the hoop (at 6’8 “, Moreno played varsity ball), to the method and practice of teaching, to lessons learned from the hoop education reform explosion over a decade ago in Newark, New Jersey.
“Vulnerability is essential for good pedagogy,” Moreno likes to say; he puts his history, and the stories of its students, at the center of the learning experience. “Demographics are not synonymous with fate,” he adds.
Sylvester Mobley, another of our speakers, shares Moreno’s commitment. He is the founder of Coded by Kids, which fights inequality through technology education, having introduced nearly 1,000 children from under-represented groups to software development, digital design, computing and skills. in technological start-up. A Marine, Mobley saw a need and did what the Marines do: he took the hill. But first came the call to mission.
“We all know that at some point we’re going to die,” Mobley told me six years ago when he first released Coded by Kids. “We don’t think about it. But in Iraq, in this environment, you think about it all day, every day. You are surrounded by people, but you are also extremely isolated. You spend your time looking within, analyzing your life. You constantly wonder, How am I going to be remembered and thought about? I came back wanting to do something for my community… I realized that I wanted my life to be more.
Finally, we will be joined by Dr Heidi Ramirez, an agent of educational change just like Moreno and Mobley. You may remember Ramirez, the former Temple teacher who served on the School Reform Commission and made a name for herself tell the truth to power. She then served as Director of Studies for Milwaukee and Memphis Public Schools, where she oversaw dramatic improvements in student attendance, graduation rates and learning.
Unbeknownst to me, Dr Ramirez returned to Philly two years ago, and not too soon. His reformist voice could be a welcome addition to our status quo-oriented educational ecosystem. The key to overthrowing once sclerotic school systems, according to Ramirez? A laser-like focus on “teaching, learning and student achievement”. It sounds simple, but it is amazing how often education systems move away from the first job.
Join us next Wednesday at the Fitler Club for what promises to be the kind of education talk we all should have all the time. After registering, you will also have the option of making a pre- or post-event dinner reservation at the Club, whether or not you are a Fitler member.
Wednesday July 14, 6-7 p.m., Fitler Club ballroom, 1 S. 24th Street, and streaming virtually. Register for the free event here. Or here