Dr. Pedro Noguera gives his keynote speech on ''Creating the Schools We Need'' Friday morning at McNeese State. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Sunday, July 29, 2012 8:30 PM
Keynote speaker Pedro Noguera was met with loud cheers from like-minded teachers Friday morning as he discussed the politicization of public education.
“Education policy is being shaped by those that know the least, and educators have almost no say,” Noguera said.
He discussed the politics of education today and then shared his approach to dealing with reform in the classroom.
“We’ve made shutting down schools a reform strategy. It is gimmicks and sayings that are influencing policy,” Noguera said.
“Consequences of failure are serious and cannot be ignored, but you can’t just wave a wand and fix it.”
Noguera’s seminar was presented on the last day of the Teaching and Learning Conference at McNeese State University.
Around 150 teachers from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi attended the two-day conference in Farrar Hall. It focused on the theme of “Literacy, Numeracy and Technology.”
Friday’s sessions covered topics such as bullying prevention, how teachers make a difference and closing the achievement gap.
Noguera taught three sessions, but focused his keynote address on a relevant topic for teachers in Louisiana, “A Broader and Bolder Approach to School Reform.”
The approach outlines three policy areas that Noguera believes will help the underlying problems with the current education system: expanding access to early childhood education, expanding learning time and expanding access to health care and other social services.
All three concentrations have one central theme, Noguera said.
“Your background should not determine your education. Poverty is not a learning disability.”
Noguera said politicians are focused on the wrong question. Politicians care about achievement, whereas teachers “should care about kids getting excited about learning.”
“We need to create schools where it’s cool to be smart,” he said.
“If we don’t, then stereotypes in our society will limit them. They will believe it’s easier for them to be a rap star than a scientist. Schools have to break stereotypes.”
Noguera encouraged teachers to focus on responding to the specific needs of their students first. He said that when their needs are met, academic success will follow.
“We have to create schools that don’t let kids slip through the cracks,” he said.
Keeping the “Broader and Bolder” approach in mind, Noguera said teachers should focus on one question for the upcoming school year:
“How can you continue to be a positive difference, to make a change, even as politicians do their crazy things?”
Posted By: Alfred On: 7/29/2012
Title: Read Between the Lines
From just reading between the lines, all I see is another approach to "expanding access to health care and other social services" = more welfare.
And I agree with Just an Observer, "Better teachers...better accountability (from teachers and parents) and better standards. Success will follow." After all, there are many opinions from many educated people such as Dr. Noguera; but where does accountability on the part of the teachers fit in? By the way Dr. in reference to your comment regarding "They will believe it’s easier for them to be a rap star than a scientist"; who set that precedence?
Posted By: Just an Observer... On: 7/28/2012
Sorry Dr Noguera...parents and the real world care about achievement. So the kid is excited about learning...but if the teacher is poor and can't teach Johnny to read and add numbers, what good does it do? This is the same philosophy that deviated school systems in western Washington State (i.e. Seattle area). There was more concern for making sure that kids 'felt good' about learning and other cultures than making sure that the material was mastered. As a result, schools not in those 'touchy feely' districts had better test scores.
Better teachers...better accountability (from teachers and parents) and better standards. Success will follow.