Educator Workforce Convening*

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my research is finding and reporting on programs — both educational and corporate — that are taking unique and innovative actions to improve education. This summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Carole Basile, Dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (“MLFTC”) at ASU. What followed was an exciting dive into what ASU is doing to change the role of teachers, and the vision ASU has for the future of education.

Dr. Basile pointed me in the direction of Dr. Brent Maddin, also a doctor of education and the person chosen to fill a new position at ASU: Executive Director of the Next Education Workforce. And it was the perfect connection.

Dr. Maddin is leading a team (supported by foundations, as well as other funding and thought partners) at ASU that is taking aim at two significant problems facing the education profession today: 1.) fewer people are interested in becoming teachers, and 2.) for the first time since polling began, a majority of parents answered “no” to the question, “Would you like to have your child take up teaching in a public school?” In our conversation, Dr. Maddin expressed his concern with how we are staffing schools, and how too often the profession looks the same on day one as it does on day 10,000.

I am delighted to report that in order to address some of these glaring issues, MLFTC is deploying over 300 teacher candidates in team-based residencies in 11 school districts, and is working with a growing number of schools on designing teams of professional educators. Dr. Maddin’s goal, very much in line with the ASU focus on innovation and community impact championed by ASU President Dr. Michael Crow, is to create the Next Education Workforce. That initiative intends to:

  • Question assumptions (e.g. are we educating kids based on the past practices, or preparing them for the future?”
  • Create coalitions (Bring someone from the community in as a part-time educator/mentor? Check.)
  • Listen to teachers in the field (and as a pilot, start with Arizona schools), and
  • Build a set of concrete resources and trainings to share what ASU is learning with more schools that are innovating in their systems to generate better outcomes and experiences for kids and educators.

The premise of the initiative is that teaching needs to be made into a job that is wildly exciting, and where people want to engage.

I am personally excited to see where this innovative team takes us. And I look forward to working together and collaborating with ASU in their research on team teaching and in the preparation of community educators.

I hope you read in detail the new thinking and innovations that Dr. Maddin is pursuing in a recent column he wrote. An excerpt follows.

On an unseasonably brisk mid-May afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona, nearly 100 people sat at tables playing with unusual baseball cards.

While the cards lacked player names, they did have position names. And there were a lot more than nine positions. In fact, there were more than 30. There was no shortstop or left fielder. But there was a “Teacher, Science” and a “Teacher, Media Arts.” There were cards for receptionists and principals, custodians and math coaches. The deck of cards contained roles for paraprofessionals, experienced teachers, and teaching novices. Instead of batting averages, cards indicated whether a role required certification and how many years of relevant experience the person filling that role had.

Read the entire article here, and start the conversation right here on our website.

*Photo Courtesy of ASU: Next Education Workforce