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'American Teacher' screening, panel Thursday at School of the Future

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 30, 2011 01:53 PM

Educators including Acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan will speak on a panel following a screening of the documentary American Teacher at High School of the Future Thursday evening.

The documentary, narrated by Matt Damon and co-produced by author Dave Eggers, follows the personal and work travails of four teachers in varied urban and rural settings. It makes the argument the that best way to increase the quality of the workforce is to pay teachers more.

There will be a community dinner at 5 p.m., a screening at 6 p.m., and the panel discussion at 7:30 p.m. Joining Nunery and Jordan on the panel are:

  • Jerusha Conner, Assistant Professor of Education, Villanova University;

  • Thomas Emerson, a teacher at  School of the Future;

  • Dominic Gullo, a Professor in Drexel's School of Education;

  • Andrew Ko, Senior Director, Microsoft Partners in Learning, and

  • Jeffrey Pestrak, Chief Academic Officer of Mastery Charter Schools.

School of the Future is located at 4021 Parkside Ave. in West Philadelphia.

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Comments (7)

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on December 1, 2011 8:48 am

I just want you to know that I really enjoyed the Notebook's Happy Hour last evening. I met a bunch of wonderful educators and advocates who are contributors to these comments and care about the students of Philadelphia and the profession of teaching and learning.

The Notebook core team is a great mix of experienced and young journalists wanting to make a difference in what happens within our school community. The hope for the future of our schools and the profession of teaching lies largely within us as a community. It was fun meeting our "New Generation" of educators who will shape their own future within the district and some friends from the past.

The Notebook is a budding community that I hope grows into an Oak tree. It is so important for the Notebook to be an independent voice of the school district community.

Submitted by Allison Budschalow on December 1, 2011 11:39 am

Rich -- thanks for your kind words and for coming to our happy hour last night. It was a pleasure to meet you in person, having read your comments in threads, and be able to now have a face as well as name. I wholeheartedly agree that everyone at the happy hour really reflected the power and opportunity to strengthen and grow a great community of educators and allies in Philly that we all hope will last well into the future.
Those of us in the newer generations are honored to stand on the shoulders of educators, students, parents, activists, advocates, allies and others who have come before us. Together we will deepen the roots of this “Oak tree.” 
We hope to meet more members of the Notebook community at our next happy hour -- stay tuned for more information on this in 2012.

Submitted by tom-104 on December 1, 2011 10:08 pm

Why are there no public school teachers on the panel? The only teacher representatives are from charter and privately funded schools. Once again an example of how we are moving to a segregated education system where an elite gets needed resources and the children of the working class and unemployed get an inferior education.

I wonder if Matt Damon knows how his film is being used. He spoke at the Save Our Schools rally in Washington D.C. last summer. I don't think he would approve of how the film he narrated is being used.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 1, 2011 10:33 pm

There was a teacher from School of the Future on the panel.

Overall, I think that the panel was well put together and had some insightful, although not entirely new, things to say regarding education. The movie, as well as the discussion that followed, was focused on teacher compensation which I think was a little disappointing.

I really wish that the audience members asking questions were pre-screened. There was an opportunity tonight to ask some penetrating questions to a relatively elite panel. Instead, audience members felt compelled to talk about what they themselves knew about various topics. Cut the crap and ask a question...have your conversations later...

Submitted by tom-104 on December 1, 2011 10:50 pm

School of the Future is not a traditional public school. It is a Microsoft experiment to advance Bill Gates' privatization agenda.

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