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Education for what?

Session 4
Will Ehrenfeld — NYC DOE teacher

With the wave of interest in portfolio approaches to reforming urban districts, school accountability systems have become more important than ever in determining the future of public education. Schools and educators adapt to their expectations, meaning many of the new, small schools lack artistic and extracurricular opportunities that long sustained schools in disadvantaged communities. Recently, there has been a shift towards career and technical education and early college as reform practices for high schools. The premise seems to be that relevance is the key.

This session will be led by one of the founders of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), a new 9-14 school in Brooklyn that prepares students for careers in information technology and engineering through partnerships with NYC College of Technology (CUNY) and IBM. The school is in its third year, with the original class of students in their junior year. It is a small school of choice, which leads to difficulties that are common to such schools: an inability to provide as broad a menu of courses as students and parents would like. Likewise, the school is subject to the same imperfect accountability system as every other NYC public school. Students from Mr. Ehrenfeld's government class will be present to offer their perspectives on a unique new school and their role in shaping it.

How do schools and systems make decisions about which of their students' needs to meet, and which to neglect? Who is allowed to participate in that conversation, and where does it take place? How do we continually have this dialogue democratically and inclusively?

Conversational Practice

The session will include stories from P-TECH and the establishment of a new school model, balanced with small and large group brainstorming and discussion. In the spirit of democratic dialogue, the precise format is undefined pending the input of participants. The goal is a collaborative conversation on how decisions are made in schools, with input included from Twitter along with in-person attendees. Follow the conversation at #ed4what

Conversation Links

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Presenter Profiles

Will Ehrenfeld
Will Ehrenfeld


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