Urban School Reform to be Theme of Eighth Annual Educators’ Lecture Series at Pace

Some of the nation’s most challenging advocates of urban school reform will present at Pace University’s School of Education’s 8th annual distinguished educators’ lecture series “Beyond Closing the Achievement Gap: The Next Level of Urban School Reform.”


Cara Cea, Pace University, 914-906-9680, ccea@pace.edu

Arthur Maloney, EdD, Pace School of Education, 212-346-1347, amaloney@pace.edu

Note: Photos are available of most participants on request


Bill Ayers, University of Illinois distinguished professor who became issue in Obama campaign, to give final talk.

“Beyond Closing the Achievement Gap: The Next Level of Urban School Reform” to be theme of well-attended public sessions held after school near City Hall.

NEW YORK, NY – Some of the nation’s most challenging advocates of urban school reform will present at Pace University’s School of Education’s 8th annual distinguished educators’ lecture series “Beyond Closing the Achievement Gap: The Next Level of Urban School Reform.”

The schedule is as follows:

March 10 – Theresa Perry, a national expert in social identities and African American achievement;

March 17 – George Wood, instrumental in the opening of 80 new small high schools in urban Ohio;

March 24 – Tony Wagner, Tony Wagner, Harvard educator who discusses a global achievement gap between teaching and job needs;

April 21 – Bill Ayers, a proponent for teaching for social justice.

Ayers, whose name became national news because of his work with Barak Obama on educational issues in Chicago, was a co-founder of the Weather Underground during the Vietnam war era.

Full houses

The lectures are presented from 6-8 pm after the school day to accommodate educators; the series regularly fills Pace’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts in downtown Manhattan. The center is east of City Hall, entrance on Spruce Street between Gold and Park Row. The lectures are free and open to the public. Media admission by press pass.

Due to the series’ popularity, those outside the city can view the sessions through streaming live video at the Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services at 5 BOCES Road in Poughkeepsie, 845-486-4800.

Over the years the series has drawn virtually every eminent U.S. voice for improvement in elementary and secondary schools.

More information on the series is available at http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=8403 or from professor Arthur Maloney at (212) 346-1512 or amaloney@pace.edu.

The complete lineup of topics:

March 10

Theresa Perry, Ph.D.

Simmons College

“Towards a New Conversation about the Achievement and Development of African American Youth”

At the heart of Perry’s theory is the centuries-old belief among African Americans that education means liberation. She will argue that misunderstanding, misuse of resources, and misplaced sentiments are challenges in African American achievement. Perry is a Professor of Africana Studies and Education at Simmons College and director of The Race, Education and Democracy Lecture and Book Series, a collaborative effort of Simmons College and Beacon Press. Perry received her master’s degree in theology from Marquette and her doctorate in education from Harvard University.

March 17

George Wood, Ph.D.

Forum for Education and Democracy

“From a Culture of Testing to a Community of Learning”

Wood is Executive Director of The Forum for Education and Democracy and principal of Federal Hocking High School in Stewart, Ohio. Wood writes an education blog for the Forum at http://forumforeducation.org/blogs/george-wood. Referring to the “5,000 hours” that students spend in high school, he says on the blog that “America has an obligation to every child that this time is challenging, engaging, and enriching” and that the “most fundamental purpose of public education is to prepare our children to take their place as citizens in our democracy.” Federal Hocking is a rural school in Appalachian Ohio which has been recognized as a Coalition of Essential Schools Mentor School, a First Amendment School, and as one of America’s 100 Best by Readers’ Digest. Wood also directed the Ohio High School Transformation Initiative’s Small School Leadership Institute that opened 80 new small high schools were opened in the urban areas of Ohio. Wood has authored several books including Time To Learn, Schools that Work, and Many Children Left Behind (with Deborah Meier).

March 24

Tony Wagner, Ed.D.

Harvard Graduate School of Education

“The Global Achievement Gap”

In a Q&A on the Harvard Graduate School of Education web site, Wagner discusses his most recent book, “The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need–and What We Can Do About It,” in which he defines the concept in the title as “the gap between what we are teaching and testing in our schools, even in the ones that are most highly-regarded, versus the skills all students will need for careers, college, and citizenship in the 21st century.” In the book Wagner argues that the gap should be grabbed by business leaders to guide a much-needed conversation with educators. Wagner is co-director of the Change Leadership Group (CLG) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a faculty member of the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at the school. He has been senior advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the past eight years, first executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility; project director for the Public Agenda Foundation in New York; and President and CEO of the Institute for Responsive Education. He earned his Master’s in teaching and doctorate in education at Harvard.

April 21

William Charles “Bill” Ayers, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education

“Problems and Possibilities for Democratic School Reform”

Ayers is an American elementary education theorist focused on education reform, curriculum, and instruction. He is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has authored several books on education, including “The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives” (1989), “To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher” (1993), and “Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader” (1998). Ayers earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from The University of Michigan and his doctorate in curriculum and teaching from Bank Street College of Education.

About Pace University

For 104 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, Pace enrolls nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu.

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