Oakland teacher speaks at the White House

Laura Kretschmar, a newly National Board-certified teacher who teaches math and science at Lighthouse Community Charter School in East Oakland, spoke at a White House forum about the teaching profession this week with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Also there is Dan Brown, whose book (“The Great Expectations School”) I just finished reading.

Check out the video here. Laura’s the second person in from the left. She starts speaking around 39 minutes.

Here’s a note she wrote to her colleagues about the experience and forwarded to me to post:

Hey everyone!

I still can’t believe I was at the White House yesterday morning on a panel with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and former colleague and friend who facilitated the panel–Genevieve DeBose, plus the other National Board Certified teachers on the panel and in the room. I spoke mostly to the importance of school design models like Lighthouse, that allow for structured collaboration among teachers maximize student learning, and the need to diversify the teaching pool for the future faces of our classrooms.

At some point the live feed from yesterday will be archived at this site, supposedly later today. The panel is around the last 30 min. http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

National Board Certified Teachers have not been invited to the White House in over ten years–speaks volumes to this administration, and the Clinton Administration.

After the morning panel, 100 of us went back to the Department of Education (Rest assured, your tax dollars are not being wasted in this concrete block of a building with few windows)
At the Dept. of Ed we held a series of round tables with teaching fellows at the Ed. Department and policy writers giving feedback on a draft of the Ed. Dept.’s vision for education, specifically around raising and elevating the teaching profession in this country. I was glad to see that school design and organization was a big part of that.

As we know, the Dept. of Ed has little control over our state and local education policies–especially around funding–but I appreciate Secretary Duncan’s effort to start this bold vision-setting and sharing his “what ifs…”. My sense is that he really wants the Fed. Gov. to play a larger role in raising the standards for teachers entering the profession–which in turn affects schools of higher ed and certification, salaries, etc. and recruiting more talent into the field. I appreciate his wanting to think big and bold—the time we spent vision and mission setting for Lighthouse, although lengthy, was worth it.

Attached is a photo of me at the mic! (oh yeah, and if you click “2” on http://www.ed.gov/ you might see me again!)

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Ugh, Arne Duncan. The man who parlayed a high school friendship with a Wall Street wizard with money he needed to dump into charities, and basketball/schmoozing prowess into a friendship with friendship with Obama which took him all the way to the top. Never taught, never was a principal.

    Here’s a clue to those outside of education who always say “it’s not about the money” — reforms cost money, sometimes lots of it.

    Colloboration time between teachers: Costs money. Innovative structures like small schools and career academies: Costs money, lots of it. Smaller classes, longer days, more days: Costs money.

    Not everything can be solved with money — it is easy to waste; just look at Emory Unified — but not a lot can be transformed without it: Best practices generally cost money to implement and maintain.

  • lisa

    Read some of the reviews of Lighthouse…not so glowing…and diversity? Not impressed at all.