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This is the setting out.
The leaving everything behind.
Leaving the social milieu. The preconceptions. The definitions. The
language. The narrowed field of vision. The expectations.
No longer expecting relationships, memories, words, or letters to mean
what they used to mean. To be, in a word: Open.
-Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
On the heels of a global pandemic, worsening climate crisis, and a broader realization of systemic racism, we return to a semblance of pre-pandemic activities yet find we are surrounded by new, emerging questions. Co-hosted by the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) and the National Center for Clinical Practice in Educator Preparation (NCCPEP), our 2021 Annual Conference invites all educators to gather again to share common space affirmed by a common purpose. We’ve chosen to not flee from the harshness but to turn to our schools, universities, organizations, and communities and be honest and “open” to the courage and moral integral to the teaching profession.
Born from the same, decades-long scholarship and theory in school-university partnerships and democratic education, NNER, NCCPEP, and their shared missions and visions are foundational to an understanding of education as the bedrock of a democracy. Our organizations represent individuals with life-long commitments to the moral obligations of the teaching profession–considerate of all roles within the educational context, to include those well beyond formal educational settings. Pushing beyond merely the adoption of new approaches or tools, we aim for a fundamental shift in how we view education and the purposes of schools. “The most critically important omission [in the preparation of teachers] is a vision that encompasses a good and just society, the centrality of education to the renewal of that society, the role of schools in bringing this education equitably to all, and the kind of preparation teachers require for their stewardship of the nation’s schools” (Goodlad, et al., 2004, p. 28). The solutions have long been available, but the conditions for implementation have not. We ask in this moment, how do we simultaneously see and seize new possibilities? As old ways dissolve and new ways begin to reveal themselves, what becomes the role of schools and those responsible for the preparation of educators? And finally, How do we resist the allure of “quick fixes” to negotiate us out of dark times?
Understanding the political polarization that surrounds us all, the 2021 NNER/NCCPEP Annual Conference offers a space for us to create meaning together in the present moment. Let us celebrate our mutual commitment to democractic life as we focus on who we are with and what we are doing within our specific spheres of influence. Let us celebrate the power of partnerships, as we rebuild and reimagine education for a democracy.
Goodlad, J.I., Mantle-Bromley, C., & Goodlad, S.J. (2004). Education for everyone: Agenda for education in a democracy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Student presentation/participation (teacher candidates, P-12 students) is strongly encouraged.