Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Best Minds Are Already in K-12 Schools

May 08, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Regarding “Reaching Beyond the Ivory Tower Into the Classroom,” (April 4, 2012) forgive my skepticism, but I doubt the authors’ suggestions will be either heeded or, if followed, effective.

The authors’ suggestions are either ways to steer more money to the university (sending students to take classes there during high school) or take control of the school programs by “our greatest minds.”

Here is a news flash. The best teachers in this country are not in our research universities; nor is that where the greatest minds are when it comes to teaching adolescents. Those teachers and minds are in the vast majority of our elementary and secondary schools, where highly skilled teachers engage, motivate, and teach all who enter their doors. Unlike universities that screen students for admission, require particular grades for continued matriculation, and charge for the privilege of attending, teachers in our public schools take all comers, regardless of perceived talent or ability to pay, and work wonders.

Twenty years ago, I left the “ivory tower” for what was to be a two-year stint as a fill-in principal. The excitement of working with outstanding teachers and kids has kept me here and provided all the research and design opportunities I could ever want. One thing I have learned is that the last thing our schools need is another batch of experts showing up trying to tell us how to do our job and then retiring to watch from the sidelines as we work on the front lines.

If C.L. Max Nikias and William G. Tierney really want to get beyond the ivory tower, a couple of seminars for college-bound kids will not cut it. Instead, they would do better to leave their president’s office and tenured chairs and take on teaching alongside those they would instruct. The lessons would be invaluable.

George Wood

Principal

Federal Hocking High School

Executive Director

Forum for Education and Democracy

Stewart, Ohio

The writer was previously a tenured professor of education at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2012 edition of Education Week as Best Minds Are Already in K-12 Schools


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Some Teachers Won't Get Vaccinated, Even With a Mandate. What Should Schools Do About It?
Vaccine requirements for teachers are gaining traction, but the logistics of upholding them are complicated.
9 min read
Illustration of a vaccine, medical equipment, a clock and a calendar with a date marked in red.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management A Vaccine for Kids Is Coming. 6 Tips for Administering the Shot in Your School
Start planning now, get help, and build enthusiasm. It's harder than it looks.
11 min read
Cole Rodriguez, a 15-year-old student at Topeka West, gets a COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Aug. 9, 2021 at Topeka High School's vaccine clinic.
Cole Rodriguez, a 15-year-old student, gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Topeka High School's vaccine clinic.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP
School & District Management Letter to the Editor School Mask Mandates: Pandemic, ‘Panicdemic,’ or Personal?
"A pandemic is based on facts. A 'panicdemic' is based on fears. Today, we have both," writes a professor.
1 min read
School & District Management How 'Vaccine Discrimination' Laws Make It Harder for Schools to Limit COVID Spread
In Montana and Ohio, the unvaccinated are a protected class, making it tough to track and contain outbreaks, school leaders say.
4 min read
Principal and District Superintendent Bonnie Lower takes the temperature of a student at Willow Creek School as the school reopened, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Willow Creek, Mont.
Bonnie Lower, a principal and district superintendent in Willow Creek, Mont., checks the temperature of a student as Willow Creek School reopened for in-person instruction in the spring.
Ryan Berry/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP