On Tuesday, Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles visited A&M-Commerce to speak with university officials and faculty about teacher education and the status of K – 12 instruction. Miles also presented the district’s new plan for evaluating the teachers who will prepare students for college and careers in the year 2020 and beyond.
A&M-Commerce President Dan R. Jones, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Adolfo Benavides, Director of Media Relations Noah Nelson and faculty from the College of Education and Human Services were in attendance.
“It is a fundamentally different world, and the question is, ‘What are the skills needed for it.’ We need to start thinking about how to change teacher education programs now so that kids will get what they need in the years 2020 and 2025,” Miles said. “It’s a scary thought to me that we can have the world change so much and yet the curriculum stays exactly the same.”
Miles addressed the ongoing debate in education over how to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market, citing a survey of business professionals who placed high value on skills such as critical thinking, information literacy and economics. Miles said that transformation in the Dallas ISD is necessary in order to prepare students for the future.
According to Miles, the district will continue to focus on curriculum development and investment in administrators and faculty to transform the system. The Dallas ISD Teacher Excellence Initiative, which will rank teachers at levels of effectiveness and pay salaries according to those levels, is the district’s proposal for a new teacher evaluation system that Miles says will be “the most rigorous in the nation.” However, Miles says the initiative will also support teachers, allowing for individualized teacher development that will help them better educate students.
“A&M-Commerce recognizes the need to produce teachers for the 21st century, teachers who focus on developing students’ abilities to think and to think critically, to access information from a variety of sources and know how to use that information to further their learning, develop their knowledge, and create new things,” said Dr. Martha M. Foote, professor and head of the A&M-Commerce Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “We will make our students aware of what districts—Dallas and others—are doing, and we will need to help them understand how they will be evaluated as they get out into the field.”
Informing students of how they will be assessed as teachers in the future will be another part of the preparation of highly qualified educators at A&M-Commerce, which was recently ranked highest among institutions in The Texas A&M University System for “shaping the next generation” through teacher education by the Online College Database.
“A&M-Commerce already produces high-quality teachers for us,” said Miles. “I want to collaborate and work together with the leaders here to ensure that we’re preparing teachers for the educational landscape that will be present in the year 2025 and beyond. I hear there is a good movement in that direction here.”