education | September 08, 2013

Schools Need Better Support Systems: Education Speaker Pedro Noguera

"Education is increasingly a politicized policy matter," education speaker Pedro Noguera says in a Summer Institute 2013 keynote. With each new political figure who takes office comes a new set of education reforms. "Despite the progress [of the Bloomberg mayoral office], serious challenges remain," he tells the New York Times blog, "and the next mayor will inherit an array of complex issues that will require a different approach than the one utilized by Bloomberg and the Department of Education." While he argues that education might best be handled by a non-partisan body, he does have several suggestions for the future Mayor of New York. Graduation rates have risen in the city, so too has the number of good schools available for parents to choose from. But increased poverty across the city also means that new strategies will have to be enacted to ensure that progress continues to be made for city schools. As he points out in his keynote: "Until a child's background does not determine how well they do in our schools, then we know we have work to be done."

Here are his suggestions for the future Mayor of New York (which could easily be applied to many other American cities):
1) Coordinate city services to improve education in low-income schools
  • "New York’s poorest communities have been overwhelmed by a variety of social and economic issues that affect child development and limit school performance," he explains. "The next mayor will need to coordinate city services—health, recreation, safety, child welfare—and work more closely with nonprofits, hospitals, universities, and other institutions to develop systems of support for schools."

2) The Department of Education will need to do more than merely judge schools
  • The Department of Education must also help schools to improve, Noguera argues: "Closing schools should be treated as a last resort—not the primary strategy used to deal with struggling schools."

3) Focus on meeting the needs of English-language learners
  • "Over half the children [in the city] come from homes where English is not spoken," Noguera says. "The next mayor will need to recognize that serving the needs of English-language learners cannot be treated as a minor issue. The future of New York hinges on how well we serve these students."

Noguera is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. He also has extensive experience as an educator in the classroom. He shows educators and policy makers how they can overcome barriers to success help children to succeed in his keynotes. To book Pedro Noguera as a speaker, contact the Lavin Agency.

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