For nearly two decades we have put a premium on promoting reforms
that would improve teaching and learning in our schools. We believe
that this can be best accomplished if we insist on the indivisibility
of excellence and equity and of unionism and professionalism.
Without equity, excellence is not excellence, it is a privilege.
And when we promote unionism and professionalism in tandem, we
strengthen both. It will take a relentless commitment to both
if we are to improve significantly the learning of all our students.
But it can be doneit's just that it can't be done easily
or by us alone.
Of all the factors that affect learning, nothing matters more
than the knowledge, skills and attitudes of teachers. Increasing
the knowledge and skills of teachers cannot occur without increased
access to new information about subject matter in the respective
disciplines, without new knowledge about authentic pedagogy,
or without greater knowledge about the students we teach. All
this must then serve as a foundation for the development of teaching
skills and attitudes that would be a good match with the learning
needs of all our students.
That's why the Rochester Teacher Center can and must play a pivotal
role in teacher learning and professional development. In a strong
partnership with the RTA and all others in Rochester's education
community, the RTC can do much to promote the building of learner-centered
schools, the development of a more genuine teaching profession
and the nurturing of a sense of community-wide shared accountability
for students' success. This is also why the RTC serves the education-related
needs of parents, school-related personnel and school administrators-in
addition to teachers.
For teachers, the best form of professional development is the
kind that is inseparable from the day-to-day work that teachers
do. Reflecting on our work, conferencing about our students,
learning from each other, examining students' workthose
are activities no less important than workshops, conferences
or coursework. Rather than looking only without for our own learning,
teachers must look within. And the RTC aims to facilitate this.
Please consider becoming involved in the RTC as a learner and
as a teacher. By doing so, you will be making a contribution
toward our goals of building a more genuine profession for ourselves
and more effective schools for all our students.