Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Garrett Outlines Challenges for Teachers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Garrett Outlines Challenges for Teachers

Article excerpt

State School Superintendent Sandy Garrett says Oklahoma's educators of the new century face goals that teachers of the past did not necessarily have to meet. She outlined eight challenges Wednesday for teachers.

One teacher of the past -- her first-grade teacher -- shared the stage with Garrett during the State of Education address in an enlarged version of Garrett's first grade class photo.

"This photo represents the past for public schools in Oklahoma and the past ways of thinking about leadership, about education and about teaching children," Garrett said. "Don't misunderstand -- Mrs. Wherry was a great teacher. . .

"But, Mrs. Wherry was not asked to teach the high standards we have today, to be accountable for student performance; to relate to an increasingly diverse and mobile student body, or even to assess the reading skills of all her first-graders."

Garrett identified eight priority challenges to leadership in the new century: parental involvement, early childhood education, reading, fine arts, improving academic rigor, the school as the center of the community, technology, and recruiting and retaining teachers.

Garrett also challenged Oklahoma to take "a lead position and give more districts a chance to pilot some performance pay opportunities for teachers."

As a reward for some of the more outstanding educators, Garrett announced that six will get $25,000 cash awards as finalists for the National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation.

A blue-ribbon panel will whittle a pool of teachers down to 12 and those will be sent to the foundation in Santa Monica, Calif, which will then select six.

The educators will go to California for a conference and will be connected to other educators throughout the country to share good teaching practices, Garrett said.

While she emphasized the need for change in education and the need for leaders who are bold and innovative, Garrett also praised improvements in Oklahoma's education system in the past decade. …

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