Monday, July 6, 2009

Linda Darling-Hammond: 2009 NEA Friend of Education

One of the most influential and revered public education policy voices in the United States – that’s how NEA President Dennis Van Roekel described Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, the recipient of the 2009 NEA Friend of Education award. Darling-Hammond is a professor of education at Stanford University and a tireless champion of a teacher-led education reform.

In her speech to the delegates, Darling-Hammond issued a call-to action for educators across the nation to take the reins and fight for nothing less than a transformation of public education – one in which all students have the right to learn and teachers have the support, resources and respect needed to teach well.

“The cost of doing this,” she warned, “will ultimately be less than the costs of not doing it.”

Darling-Hammond called for a renewed commitment – a “Marshall Plan for Teachers” - to hire and support highly-qualified teachers and leaders.

Schools should be transformed into laboratories for “personalized learning environments” in which educators can make decisions about the curriculum, instruction and assessments - and leave the factory assembly line model behind.

Make no mistake, Darling-Hammond said, this agenda will require leadership from educators across the country.

"I know all of you are working hard, day in and day out to educate students. We can do this if we work together – across states and localities, across educational roles, and across party lines.”

Photo by Calvin Knight/RA Today

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