Every day, teachers make decisions that shape their jobs, classrooms, and students’ experiences. Although they seem like individual choices, these decisions are inevitably impacted by a broader context of district, state, and national policies that govern the educator workforce. In today’s challenging environment, it is critical that we examine the persistent, systemic inequities that influence of these policies and ask: How are our teacher workforce policies disrupting or perpetuating these inequities?
These questions and more were addressed during the 2022 BU Wheelock Forum: Examining How Teacher Workforce Policies Shape an Equity-Centered Education. The event, hosted by BU Wheelock and the Wheelock Educational Policy Center (WEPC), took place March 31–April 1. Faculty researchers, alumni, students, and more came together with national and state education leaders to examine the research and policy implications in two key areas:
- Shortages, shifts, and stability in the Massachusetts educator workforce amid the COVID-19 pandemic
- Workforce policies and the understudied impact on teachers serving English learners and students with disabilities.
“We’re still trying to figure out what the next version of teaching will be. I’m optimistic that those experiencing education right now . . . are going to be the leaders of what that innovation will be,” said Takeru Nagayoshi, who moderated a panel discussion on education policy as well as a fireside discussion of Massachusetts Teachers of the Year.
Featured speakers throughout the event included:
- Roberto Rodriguez, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education
- Kate Walsh, President, National Council on Teacher Quality
- Juliana Urtubey, 2021 National Teacher of the Year and Special Education teacher from Las Vegas, Nevada
- Jessica Tang, President, Boston Teachers Union
It’s important to “understand that the differences that learners bring are all important, the differences teachers bring are all important, and we’re all in this together,” said BU Wheelock Dean David Chard, at the conclusion of the two-day event.
If you were not able to attend the 2022 BU Wheelock Forum, here are some of the highlights:
“Teacher workforce must remain our primary focus if we’re to do right by students.”
“College students of color are entering teaching at a rate that’s one third below” white students . . . “a realistic goal is a teacher workforce that is as diverse as the adult population.”
“It takes all of us to be able to mitigate change. The most powerful place of change is the classroom.”
“An equitable education is something all students should have access to. It’s not something families should have to fight for.”
“Our young people need our educators more than ever. . . . Our imperative around equity and serving the whole child is grounded in the desire to do better.”
For more information about the 2022 BU Wheelock Forum
- Visit the 2022 BU Wheelock Forum website to see the complete agenda and list of speakers
- See a complete playlist of all the recordings