Teach For America and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning are co-sponsoring a panel discussion on campus Wednesday, Feb. 6 that addresses educational equity and the achievement gap.
Katie Flowers, director of CCESL, Caroline Dosky ’12, MAT’13, and Jordunn Joubert ’13 will introduce the panel at 7 p.m. in the Seneca Room. Dosky has been accepted to work a two-year term with Teach for America in Boston and Joubert will serve a term in Houston, Texas.
The panel will consist of alums, faculty, and community members, including Lucia Berliner ’12, who is currently serving Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta region, Assistant Professor of Anthropology/Sociology Kendralin Freeman, Assistant Professor of Education Khuram Hussain, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Susan Pliner, and Trina Newton, superintendent of the Geneva City School District. Berliner will join the panel via Skype.
“The perspectives that these panelists will bring undoubtedly will spark an engaging conversation about education reform,” says Dosky, who double majored in dance and education. “This conversation has already started in classrooms around campus and throughout community. However, we are extending the conversation to the broader public through a panel format.”
A major component of the panel is to help illuminate the work that alums, current students, community members, and HWS professors are doing in the field of education, Dosky says.
Last semester, Alexandra Rallis, a recruiter for Teach For America, provided an information session at the Colleges that offered insights about the Teach for America program, including the application process. The session was significant for students interested in getting more information about the organization.
“Alexandra spoke so articulately about the myriad ways that TFA hopes to address equal access to quality education in America,” says Flowers.
Rallis’s visit prompted the idea for the panel, which Dosky explains was designed to serve two purposes: “continuing the conversation about education equity and inspiring seniors to apply for the last deadline for Teach For America,” which is Friday, Feb. 15.
“Alexandra has been an amazing resource for those interested in applying for Teach for America,” Dosky adds.
Rallis will be back on campus for the Feb. 6 panel to answer questions about the program and engage in the discussion of educational equity and what is known alternately as the “opportunity gap” and the “achievement gap.”
“Currently in our country, only 8 percent of kids growing up in low-income communities graduate from college by the age of 24,” says Rallis. “This is an injustice and one that more future leaders must dedicate their lives to solving. If poverty is not to be destiny, then we must collectively make education the civil rights issue of our time. We want to raise awareness about the ways in which poverty and the quality of education one receives are linked and bring attention to the work being done in the community to combat the opportunity gap.”
Rallis adds that Hobart and William Smith students have proven to be incredible leaders in the movement for educational equity.
“It is evident that the Hobart and William Smith community cares deeply about community engagement and fosters students who are engaged citizens committed to making positive change in the society,” says Rallis. “It is this level of awareness and commitment that is needed if we are going to truly build a movement for educational equity that ensures every child, no matter their zip code, their race, or their socioeconomic status, attains an excellent education.”
To learn more about Teach For America and the opportunities it provides, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org/.