by Claire Miller
While faculty and staff in the College of Education are preparing students for careers in the field, congressional leaders are working in Washington, D.C., to shape federal education policy.
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Day on the Hill event on June 21-22 presented an opportunity for representatives from the COE and members of Congress to come together to discuss current educational issues.
“Day on the Hill allows us to talk to our representatives about what’s going on in their districts and the need for continued support of key educational issues,” said Gwen Benson, COE associate dean for school and community partnerships.
Benson attended the event with Dean Randy Kamphaus; Joyce Many, associate dean for academic programs; Lilburn Middle School Principal Gene Taylor; Gregory Coleman, math instructional coach at Thomasville Heights Elementary School; and Erin Blinck, a teacher resident in the COE’s Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) grant.
NET-Q, which is funded by a $13.5 million Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education, is a collection of customized grant initiatives designed to prepare and support teachers for the demands of teaching high-need subjects in high-need schools.
The COE delegation met with six members of Congress from Georgia – Reps. John Lewis, David Scott, Hank Johnson and John Gingrey and Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson – and discussed a number of education-related topics, including grant funding and the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which focuses on funding for teacher education programs.
During the two-day event, Benson and Blinck also had the opportunity to discuss the NET-Q grant and its impact on Georgia’s K-12 schools and universities – a message Blink hopes will stay with congressional leaders as they consider future legislation.
“I hope we were able to convey to members of Congress how imperative programs such as the NET-Q grant are to new teachers and to K-12 students, because they are the true beneficiaries of teacher preparation programs,” Blinck said. “Day on the Hill was an amazing opportunity to meet with prominent members of the education community from all over the U.S., and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many people that are as passionate about education as I am.”
For more information on Day on the Hill, visit http://www.aacte.org/index.php?/2011-aactes-annual-day-on-the-hill.html.