NEA Chief Praises New Jersey Nonprofit as a Model of Teacher Initiated Education Reform

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The NJ-based Center for Teaching and Learning’s accomplishments in advancing STEM education demonstrate the power of teachers as leaders.

Center for Teaching and Learning

Center for Teaching and Learning

'If we are going to take charge of our own professions, if we want to move beyond the old debate that has been defined by others—and replace their kind of solutions with our solutions,' Van Roekel said.

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel urged nearly 9,000 member educators to fight for classroom flexibility, defining “solutions that work for students.”

The remarks, delivered earlier this month to the NEA’s Representative Assembly, singled out the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) as a model of education-based reform that advances social justice while improving public schools for all students.

Van Roekel emphasized the importance of teacher-driven efforts to improve student learning.

“If we are going to take charge of our own professions, if we want to move beyond the old debate that has been defined by others—and replace their kind of solutions with our solutions,” Van Roekel said.

By highlighting CTL’s work, Van Roekel affirmed the value of its approach to dramatically improving STEM education.

Born out of the New Jersey Education Association in 2006, CTL, a nonprofit organization, improves STEM outcomes. Its teacher-designed solutions provide coherent k-12 math and science curricula that embrace new standards, raise teacher skill and satisfaction, rapidly and affordably increase the supply of STEM teachers, provide classroom technology and pedagogical techniques that work, and raise STEM attainment for a wide variety of learners.

Through its two main programs, The Progressive Science Initiative® and the Progressive Mathematics Initiative®, CTL has spread its pedagogy and curricula from its beginnings in New Jersey to schools in several states and nations on three continents. In fact, the NEA itself has helped fund the cost of spreading the Initiatives across America.

CTL’s approach has avoided the kind of recrimination that often blocks education reform. Because their programs are effective and affordable, and because they invest in teachers, the Initiatives enjoy wide support from corporations, teacher’s associations and unions, foundations, and bi-partisan ranks of elected officials.

Robert Goodman, CTL executive director, expressed his gratitude for the NEA’s support in general and Van Roekel’s recognition in particular.

“It is gratifying to be recognized for what we are: a teacher-led effort to give every student in America a fair shot at acquiring the critical thinking skills that math and science teach. Like the NEA, CTL believes that teachers can improve education as no one else can, engineering 21st century opportunity for all students, and promoting international competitiveness,” Goodman said.

Any teacher, parent or student can access CTL’s k-12 math and science curriculum online. The free, digital, and open-source curriculum is available at http://www.njctl.org.

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Andrea Marilyn Garcia
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