This is one of a series of posts leading up to CTL’s 20th Anniversary forum and celebration, September 9th at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.
By Dr. Diane Ravitch, Research Professor, New York University, School of Culture, Education and Human Development
Author and Historian
I am happy to salute CTL on its 20th anniversary. It began as an outgrowth of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, and it has persisted through a series of shifting federal policies, including Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now the Common Core standards.
CTL has outlived many reform efforts because it is focused on what matters most: strengthening instruction in the classroom. Policies come and go, but what remains constant is the relationship between students and teachers. To be successful, teachers need professional development; they need the support of their colleagues and mentors. They need to know that they are part of a team, and that the team is working together towards the common goal of helping all children reach their full potential.
It is this sense of colleagueship and collaboration that creates a positive culture in the school. The positive culture not only helps teachers improve their practice but creates a climate that reduces teacher attrition and churn. Schools and students benefit when teachers are invested in their workplace and plan together to improve conditions for teaching and learning.
This is an era of unprecedented turmoil in American education. Yet one thing we know for sure: instability is not good for children or for schools. Students learn best when they have teachers who are committed to them for the long haul, not just for a year or two. Schools function best when they have a climate that brings teachers together to improve their practice in a respectful and positive climate.
These are the conditions that CTL fosters. This is its mission. It is a steady and reliable presence in a time of ceaseless change and uncertainty. I wish it continued success in the years ahead.
To read more of Diane’s thoughts, check her blog which she co-authors with Deborah Meier: Bridging Differences.
Visit our 20th Anniversary event page for other related blogs and information.