Reinventing Public Education

During the fall of 2011, the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan is hosting a seminar series titled Reinventing Public Education. The seminar is part of the Alumni Association’s series: Lifelong Learning: Leaders and Best Seminars.

The National Forum is partnering with the Alumni Association in crafting the seminars, helping frame some of the issues facing modern education.

Details about the seminar series, from the Reinventing Public Education site:

This seminar series is a distinct, yet important shift from the ubiquitous and often controversial debate about education reform and our schools’ problems. These discussions have been consumed with talk of accountability measures, testing, marginalization of the teaching profession, international comparisons, standards, and public investment. While these topics are important, have captured public attention and have dominated headlines for nearly a decade, perhaps we should make a more fundamental challenge, concern for all us as parents, grandparents, citizens and as alumni of a great public institution:

What kind of public education system will address the challenges of the 21st century

Public education, from childhood through the university, is considered an important gateway to opportunity in the U.S., as well as a means of building a social structure and preparing individuals for roles in democratic practice. Yet the odds of completing high school for youth attending the nation’s most troubled schools is only about 50/50; and postsecondary opportunities are increasingly favoring the affluent. Research indicates our nation’s high school graduation rate is around 70%, yet only 30% percent of students graduate with the minimum requirements needed to apply to four-year colleges. The U.S. postsecondary attainment rate is currently around 38%.

The panelists will help us make sense of these statistics, focusing on K-12 Education, Higher Education, and the ideal of educating for the good of society. We hope to foster a thoughtful consideration about the future of public education with the full awareness the world is changing in unpredictable ways, the challenges of public responsibility are becoming more complex, more demanding of citizens who can understand our own society in the context of others, and more driven by scientific and technological factors. Suddenly international security requires an understanding of religious differences and ethnic histories. The boundary between art, media and technology has fallen.

Join us as we study, discuss, try to understand, and determine how we might respond to the evolution of our education system during this period of change and challenge and see what we might contribute to the vision of reinvention. Our conversations will ask: What is at stake? Who are the stakeholders? What is the value, the purpose and the future of education for the individual and society?

Join us in person on campus, from your home via live-stream, or live video stream via mobile device.

Alumni Center
200 Fletcher St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Directions and Parking Information

K through 12 Education

Thursday, October 20, 7 p.m. Click here to register!

  • What are the facts and issues that will shape the future of public education in the United States?
  • How do we compare with other nations in terms of our investments in education, the goals of our educational systems, and our preparation of young people for life and careers?
  • What should be the focus for public education over the next generation?

Higher Education

Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m. Click here to register!

  • How did the higher education system in the United States evolve and how has it changed over the last generation?
  • Are we educating enough of our citizens? Are we educating too many? Who should go to college?
  • How should a great public university education prepare students for work and for life?
  • What other roles should colleges and universities play in community life, setting a research agenda for the nation, preparing leaders, maintaining access to the professions?
  • Value proposition-is higher education worth the cost?

Educating for the Public Good

Thursday, December 8, 7 p.m. Click here to register!

  • Is education only a concern for educators and teachers? What is the public stake in this issue?
  • How do parents, citizens and businesses get involved in strengthening and improving education for the future of their families, communities and to prepare future workers and consumers?
  • Is there still a “public” perspective on education that goes beyond funding and organizational structures? How will this change in the future?

Click here to register for all three events!

Leaders and Best seminars are free for Alumni Association members and current U-M students.

Not a member of the Alumni Association? Click here to join.

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