June 24, 1987
Last winter, the National Education Association announced that "public schools in the United States are facing a severe teacher shortage.''
A teacher who helped develop an innovative public-school program in New York City was named last week as one of the 32 "outstandingly talented and promising individuals'' to receive fellowships this year from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Deborah Meier, director of Central Park East Secondary School in East Harlem, is the first precollegiate educator to be selected for the honor, which has come to be known popularly as the "genius'' award.
PAGE 32 - Commentary
The current surge of teacher-education reform in the United States (or, more precisely, of talk about it) epitomizes an international problem and opportunity. The problem is simple, but the opportunity at present inaccessible. Agitation about the state of public education, in many countries, has at last moved beyond the stage of proposing facile solutions to complex problems. Few, even of the ill-informed critics of educational performance, are now so naÃive as to suppose that anything much will be changed by a restatement of curricular guidelines, or by a toughening of procedures in assessment or examinations, or by getting nasty with teachers, or (most quaint of all) by a raising of the required standards of admission to the privileges of higher education.
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