Comments from Participants at the 2017 Education Forum

I attended the Education Forum last weekend on both Friday and Saturday. It was so inspiring. I am so thankful for all you at the Institute do for teachers. I am renewed at each event. I learned so much from the discussion on Friday. It really put a human face on those in the upper echelons who make the decisions that govern our professional lives. The theme of a liberal education is one that prompts us as public school teachers to look beyond the drill, drill, test of our existence and claim the real meaning of a free education, one that frees us.

Janet McDonald Fuller (science)

I had a wonderful time and hung on every word spoken! I only attended the Saturday portion (but wish I had been able to attend Friday evening as well).  Each of them, the philosopher, historian, and literature professor, presented such great cases for the salience of their content area to the education of our citizens for the preservation of our society.  I felt both inspired and then a bit depressed after hearing them, as I see with joyful agreement that they are right–we need to grow up and examine life and cease assigning identities; we need to convey facts and chronology through story-telling to teach empathy; we need classics to convey a universal human truth without propagandizing. (I’ve just got to read The Brothers Karamazov now!) The deflation came with the immediate realization that we are doing it so wrong by making scores the absolute indicator of a student’s success. I felt hopeful when I saw the DISD principals in the audience! (Mrs. Broughton is a parent of two of my fabulous students.)

Staci Cianciulli (art)

As always, a refreshing blast of thoughtful discussion, on topics I care about!  All the speakers I heard, and during the math activities, had a grace and expansiveness that exemplifies for me the beauty and joy of liberal learning.  Yes, the Forum did help me recognize that spirit, and rekindle it.  It was encouraging, too, to hear superintendents’ views of our current educational climate.  We will prevail. Evil endures, but good prevails.

Elena Stephens (elementary science/math)

This program is valuable and should be continued into the future. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air to be able to think, dialogue, and share about education in an environment that truly appreciates the educational endeavor.

Dr. Carol François (former Dallas ISD Chief of Staff)

The 2017 Education Forum was inspiring and left me with much to ponder.  The form to which each discipline’s “matter” lends itself is important to remember when mapping and recognizing authenticity.  The contemplative play that is necessary for making meaning actually is also key in developing a perspective and a narrative that seems absent in the learning in most classrooms today.  With no time given to the standards that guide teaching and learning in most classrooms, participants of the Education Forum were able to explore the fundamentals of learning for a free people, and how this liberal learning brings disciplines together.  It became clear to me that the standards that make up a discipline can best be taught and learned when an understanding and execution of liberal learning becomes the modus operandi in all classrooms.

Onyema Nweze (assistant principal)