As education policy debates grow louder both nationally and across New York state, SUNY Cortland will host a nationally respected educator who is calling for teachers to practice political activism on behalf of their profession.
Timothy D. Slekar, a founder of the national movement encouraging concerned parents to keep their children from participating in high stakes school testing, will share his thoughts Thursday, April 9.
Slekar’s talk, “Politically Active Teacher? Me? Yes, You!” takes place at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105. It is free and open to the public. Free parking also is available.
“Part of our role as one of the largest preparers of teachers in New York state is to foster and encourage dialogue on difficult issues related to education,” said Andrea Lachance, dean of SUNY Cortland’s School of Education. “Right now, the act of educating itself is at the heart of some of the most heated debates across the country.
“We felt it important to bring a speaker to campus who will not only bring a critical and national perspective on these issues, but will also encourage lively debate on topics of interest to all of us invested in education.”
Topics such as teacher evaluations, performance-based funding and job tenure continue to be points of contention between policy makers and teachers unions. Slekar’s talk suggests that political activism is difficult, but necessary, given that public schools serve as focal points for communities and help build the foundation of democracy. Slekar, dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., often weighs in as an education policy analyst on radio and television and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News.
He also hosts the “BustED Pencils: Fully Leaded Education Talk” blog and weekly podcast at bustedpencils.com. His research has been published in top education journals that include Teacher Education Quarterly, Theory and Research in Social Education and Journal of Thought. He is a founding member of United Opt Out National, a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate high-stakes testing in schools.
Slekar earned a Ph.D. in social studies education from the University of Maryland at College Park while working with seventh- and eighth-grade teachers in Baltimore. His 24-year career in education began as a second-grade teacher in Williamsburg, Va. He also taught fifth grade in York, Pa., and served as a faculty member at Penn State Altoona.
For more information on Slekar’s talk, contact Alexis Abramo, the grants project manager for SUNY Cortland’s School of Education.