“I think we should be paying teachers a heck of a lot more money. Obviously, no one goes into education to make a million dollars, but you shouldn’t have to live in poverty either.” – Arne Duncan
While there are no easy answers to the challenges facing America schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said during a campus visit Tuesday that he believes Emporia Students will be part of the solution.
“I think in many places, the entire pipeline doesn’t work,” Duncan said. “So there’s not one easy answer here. I think, historically, we haven’t attracted enough folks like you (ESU students) to come into schools of education, or come into teaching.”
Lasting about an hour, the town hall style meeting, which was part of the Education Drives America Tour, even drew in administration from Flint Hills Technical College and Emporia High School. National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and Cynthia Apalinski, an elementary science teacher and 2012 Teaching Ambassador, joined Duncan. The trio toured the Teacher’s Hall of Fame before the meeting.
“We have to be able to take on the toughest challenges from schools who are not delivering to students at all,” Roekel said, “and say, ‘Here is what we believe will make a difference’ and we are going to have to do that with others because we can’t do it by ourselves.”
Duncan and Roekel gave a short introduction before opening the floor to questions. Nearly all the questions asked came from concerned student teachers and covered a range of topics from education funding to teachers’ salaries.
“I think we should be paying teachers a heck of a lot more money,” Duncan said. “Obviously, no one goes into education to make a million dollars, but you shouldn’t have to live in poverty either.”
Standardized testing and the No Child Left Behind legislation were major topics of discussion after John Schrock, professor of biology, sent a letter to the editor to The Bulletin expressing his concern for NCLB, calling it is the “death star (that is) devastating American education.”
“It is not testing that is bad – it is how we use it,” Roekel said.
During the tour, which started Sept. 12 and will conclude tomorrow, Duncan, Roekel and Apalinske traveled across the country to promote education.
“We might not be the biggest or most popular school in Kansas, but we are a teachers college, so I think it was important for them to visit Emporia,” said Dillon Riley, sophomore history education major.
The arts were also a hot topic. With more focus on core classes, like science and math, some seemed concerned that the education system has neglected the arts.
The Education Drives America Tour also made a stop in Topeka. Duncan and Roekel spoke at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site before leaving Kansas.