Today I attended a Rebooting Democracy workshop titled “Y2K-12: An Education System for This Century” (here). There were three panelists and about twenty others seated in a circle at the p:ear (here) building in old town Portland. The three panelist were Ben Cannon, Governor Kitzhaber’s education advisor; Nicole Maher, Executive Director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA, here); and Gwen Sullivan, President of the Portland Association of Teachers.
Cannon spoke of the need to shift from the old “industrial” model of education, which sorted and left many behind, to an education system that brought everyone along and emphasized creativity, collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. Maher added that the gap between schools and social services needed to be closed.
Later, and of special interest to me, Maher spoke of the need to reform ESL programs. These immigrant children should be seen as opportunities not problems. I agree. They should be offered in-school or online language classes in their native languages.
Asked what reforms most excite them, Sullivan cited Portland Public Schools’ new teacher evaluation forms/processes which weave cultural competence throughout.
I commented that Oregon was largely ignoring the two big megatrends that needed to transform education: globalization (stronger foreign language programs: immersion and high school study abroad programs) and digitalization (using the technology of computers, telephones, the internet and online education).