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The Teacher

Monday, January 12, 2009 12:00 AM

Chicago public schools chief Arne Duncan goes before a Senate committee on Tuesday for a confirmation hearing. To help him set priorities, Post reporter Valerie Strauss asked folks in the education world to provide their best advice on key issues. Here is a response from Kimberly Worthy, teacher, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, Washington, D.C.

I congratulate Arne Duncan on his nomination to be our nation's next secretary of education. I am honored to be asked to share my advice with such a strong, experienced leader of education.

In order for all students to have access to a world class public education, we must be open to innovation. It is important to move away from failed teaching methodologies, and experiment with new approaches that are culturally relevant, holistic and brain-based. These new approaches must recognize cultural context, adjust to class demographics, and incorporate the use of technology. Curricula must be adjusted to better engage students with various backgrounds and epistemological styles. Schools' parents and teachers must be encouraged to more effectively collaborate in setting educational goals, and provide positive learning environments both at home and in the classroom. Finally, high expectations must be set for our nation's children. These high expectations are based on the belief that all students come to our classrooms with genius that we are charged to tap into, and make it come alive in the academic arena. We must believe our students can excel emotionally, behaviorally and academically, and this belief must pervade our attitudes, actions, curricula, policies and expectations for all children.

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