Union University Hosts Community Conversation about Education
April 20, 2013 - On Monday, April 15, 2013, Union University hosted the SCORE foundation for the purpose of having a community conversation about the state of education in Tennessee. The conversation was open to the public and welcomed input from those in attendance. Dr. Sharon Roberts, COO of SCORE, led a conversation among a panel of regional educators which included:
- Eddie Pruett, Superintendent, Gibson County Special School District
- Susie Bunch, Superintendent, Lexington City Schools
- Pennye Thurmond, Principal, Ripley Elementary Schools
- Jackie Hopper, Instructional Coach, Milan Special School District
- Fred Ellis, Parent Representative, Lexington City Schools
- Jeff Griggs, Alderman, City of Lexington
- Dr. Thomas Rosebrough, Executive Dean, College of Education and Human Studies, Union University
- Dr. Norma Gerrell, CORE Director, Northwest Tennessee
- Dave Bratcher, Vice President of Financial Services, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation
- Chuck Jones, Chief of Technology, Jackson-Madison County School System
The Executive Dean of Union University’s College of Education and Human Studies, Dr. Tom Rosebrough, started the conversation and emphasized the importance of the human element in education. Although the current educational climate may be challenging, he indicated that with higher expectations (such as in CCSS) a teacher’s sensitivity to the difference between a challenge and a frustration for students becomes even more vital. He later added that great education comes from focusing on children in the instructional process to produce great by-products, as opposed to a primary focus on products like scores on achievement tests.
In the current era of educational accountability, it was not surprising that part of the panel’s conversation addressed the topic of student achievement, particularly in relation to how work done the past year has been able to improve student learning. Many of the panelists emphasized the value of data, especially as a means of formative assessment. Being able to track student progress to make more informed decisions has been one of the major advantages over the past year.
The conversation offered a meaningful opportunity for educators to share and discuss the pros and cons of the current system and to offer insight about the future of education. One point seems certain; educators in West Tennessee are dedicated to making a positive difference in the life of students. Such conversations are a thought-provoking way to promote collaboration among educators.