Clayton State University’s Education Speaker Series, “Teaching in a Diverse World,” will continue on Monday, Apr. 9.
Failing schools; furlough days; budget cuts; scapegoating; charter schools; teacher pay for performance; dropouts; cheating scandals; standardized testing mania; the elimination of recess, music, art and phys. ed.… through the complex confusion of reform measures that have become status quo for public education in Georgia, a small group of dedicated educators and education activists are working to provide real solutions and improve education for all teachers, students, and families in Georgia. They are: “Fighting to Teach: An Education Advocacy Panel.”
On Apr. 9, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in room UC272 of the James M. Baker University Center, the Clayton State Department of Teacher Education will present Fighting to Teach: Education Advocacy Panel (and workshop). This interactive panel of educators and education activists is struggling to improve education for all teachers, students, and families in Georgia. The panel will include a variety of speakers
from lawyers to teachers and political activists — all with ideas for creating change in our classrooms, our schools, and our world. This event is free and open to the public.
The panel members are:
Matt Jones – An active high school teacher and founder of Empower Education for Georgia. Empower ED Georgia, a non-partisan education advocacy group, was founded January 2010 in response to the deep budget cuts and destructive policies facing education in Georgia, and, in two years, has more than 3,500 members -- parents, students, and educators -- from across Georgia. Recently Empower Ed published the groundbreaking position paper called, “A Blueprint for Real Education Reform in Georgia”.
Mary Anne Smith and Cita Cook – A recently retired Fulton County Latin teacher and a professor emeritus from the University of West Georgia who are founders of Metro Atlantans for Public Schools (MAPS), a network of progressive public school employees, parents, students, and allies who believe that public education should be democratic, well-funded, and community-supported. MAPS recently sponsored a Sharing Session on Georgia’s New Teacher Evaluation System where they brought together pre and in service teachers and public education activists from various metro Atlanta school districts and grade levels to share information and discuss strategies regarding Teacher Keys and Leader Keys, the new pay-for-performance teacher evaluation system that will be implemented this fall in most Metro Atlanta school systems.
Vera Stenhouse – An independent researcher, scholar, diversity trainer, and current president of the Georgia Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (GA NAME), an award-winning education advocacy group fights for “moving away from dehumanizing political, social, historical, and economic inequities and building towards an ideal of a just and equitable environment for humanity established through agency and advocacy concerning education both inside and outside the classroom.” GA NAME most recently was lauded as, “Social Justice Organization of the Year” for 2012.
Dr. Alyssa Hadley Dunn – Dunn is a clinical assistant professor of Urban Teacher Education at Georgia State University, a recent recipient of the 2012 GSU President’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Community Service and Social Action, author of the text “Urban Teaching in America: Theory, Research, and Practice in K-12 Classrooms” and the founder of Georgians for Freedom, a group of professors, students, and community members concerned about social justice and the censorship of certain histories, books, and pedagogies. This group was formed in response to the Tucson, Az., UnifiedSchool District’s recent ban of Mexican American studies from their curriculum. Tucson’s teachers are now unable to teach anything where "race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes." What’s next for Georgia?
Fahima Ife – A middle grades teacher at the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, Ife is an active teacher, a member of Georgians for Freadom, a member of GA NAME, a scholar who recently earned a full Ph.D. fellowship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an accomplished poet. Before completing her Master of Arts in Teaching at Emory University, she substitute taught in California and Georgia public schools. At Emory, she studied multicultural and social justice literacy, enhancing her beliefs about student-centered dialogue and culturally relevant pedagogy.
James Braggs – A program coordinator for Project South, Braggs has deep and extensive community organizing experience, coordinates the Atlanta Education Justice project, supports the coordination of Project South’s People’s Movement Assembly and contributes a wealth of research and facilitation experience to developing political education and curriculum. Project South’s programs focus on communities of color affected by social control and economic degradation created by historic and current trends of privatization, exploitation, neo-liberalism, and structural racism in the U.S.
Bourquaye Thomas - Known as “The Teachers’ Lawyer,” attorney Thomas attended the UCLA School of Law in 1994, received his Juris Doctorate in 1997, and made Atlanta his home in 2001. Thomas is a member in good standing with the Georgia State Bar and is admitted in the Georgia Court of Appeals, the District Court, and the Supreme Court. His firm, The Law Office of B. A. Thomas, LLC, is dedicated to protecting the rights of teachers who have been unfairly treated, discriminated against, and/or in need of assistance at a critical point in their lives. His firm has successfully litigated against the PSC and every major school district within the metro Atlanta area.
The individuals in the pic are Scott Ritchie – Professor KSU; Vera Stenhouse – President GA NAME; Matt Jones – Founder Empower Ed GA. They are displaying their Empower Ed GA bracelets.
For further information on Fighting to Teach: An Education Advocacy Panel, contact Mari Ann Roberts, assistant professor of Multicultural Education, and coordinator, Master of Arts in Teaching Program in the Department of Teacher Education at Clayton State University, at firstname.lastname@example.org.